I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Loving the Soap Exchange...

In a couple of my previous posts like Food Waste = Composted Soil and Recycling and more recycling I talk about ways in which my family has reduced the amount of waste we send to the landfill.  However, being kind to the planet is not just about reducing the amount of garbage you produce.  There are many, many other ways that you can make a difference.  A couple of examples would be using baking soda rather than harmful chemicals to kill moss, or sacrificing a small amount of convenience and taking public transit whenever possible (yes, that was a shot at you lovely husband), or buying biodegradable cleaning products and/or toiletries.

There are several sites online these days such as Earth Easy and About.com that provide recipes for producing your own cleaning products with ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar.  For some reason I have not managed to ever get around to producing my own, but I did find The Soap Exchange, a store that offers a great alternative to your standard store bought cleaners, detergents, etc.  Not only are their products 100% biodegradable, but they also reuse your containers so you are not throwing away, or recycling, any packaging.  I do not know all of the figures and science behind the energy and water requirements for making plastic containers and then subsequently recycling them into new products, but I think it is safe to assume that reusing is the best option in that regard.

The Soap Exchange has three full-line locations in Nanaimo, Saskatoon, and Victoria.  In addition, you may find a few sub-stores in their vicinity that also carry a smaller selection of Soap Exchange products.  In Victoria The Soap Exchange is located at the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Cedar Hill Road.  There are also approximately 15 sub-stores in the surrounding area including a couple on the Gulf Islands and one in Powell River.  The Saskatoon location was the first to open in 1992 and the Victoria and Nanaimo locations followed.  Rather than a franchise format the full-line stores act as licensed distributors of The Soap Exchange products.

Once inside a full-line Soap Exchange you will find an impressive array of cleaning products all of which are biodegradable, made in Canada, and not tested on animals.  As I have phased out my other cleaning products my collection has grown to include their laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, dish soap, and an all purpose cleaner.  For those that like to sample before committing to a larger purchase there are mini sizes of almost every product available for purchase.  There are many products I have yet to try including a product for washing your car that I noticed on their website when I was preparing this post - I guess that will be my next sample.  For those that might question the fact that I even wash my car at all - yes I do, very rarely, and I try to remember to wash it on the front lawn. 

Laundry Soap
The picture above is the laundry detergent that I use, which has no dye and no fragrance.  The little cup beside it is the measuring cup (refreshingly small isn't it?).  I use one full cup, which is approximately 2 tablespoons of detergent, for each full load of laundry.  On June 1 I went to The Soap Exchange to refill my container and as of June 24 this is how much detergent I had left.  Since we are a family of four we are no stranger to laundry, but the product page on The Soap Exchange website can give you a more concrete idea of how many loads each container will do.  The picture below is the dishwasher detergent and the cup beside gets filled up with detergent just to the red line and distributed equally between the two soap dispensers.

Dishwasher Detergent
The all purpose cleaner, below, can be diluted and used as a spray for spot cleaning or stain removal, or mixed into a bucket of water to clean larger areas such as floors or cabinet fronts.  I recently used it as a spray to successfully remove face paint crayon from my daughter's bedroom carpet (I should have known there was something going on - they were too quiet).

The laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, and all purpose cleaner, like most of the products, are concentrated.  Therefore, you use smaller amounts and subsequently spend less money buying cleaning products.  I think that buying biodegradable cleaning products is an easy to way to help reduce your impact on this earth.  Saving a little money in the process is an added bonus.  If you need another reason to try out The Soap Exchange check out their Clean-Up Club.  If you sign up your non-profit group can earn back 10% of each purchase made by your members.  All they have to do is mention the name of your group when they make their purchase.  If you do not live in Victoria, Nanaimo or Saskatoon then look for other biodegradable products available at your grocery store.  Or, if you are feeling ambitious, maybe you could become a licensed distributor yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds pretty interesting, thanks. Hadn't heard of them before but will have to check them out!