Soap and Spaghetti

I’m currently well-supplied with liquid shampoo

A year ago, whilst I was participating in National Blog Posting Month, I wrote about shampoo, particularly focusing on the ingredient SLS, which seems to be an undesirable thing to splash on our skin. Eventually, after much research and discussion, I chose to buy my shampoo in bulk from Faith in Nature. I was not entirely happy about this as I was still buying a product encased in plastic and I was still buying a liquid. Ideally, I’d like to use a solid shampoo that does not contain SLS. Why a shampoo bar rather than bottle? Well, because if we buy liquids we are paying (in money and in cost to the environment) to transport water… something that most of us reading this blog have readily available in our homes. For the time being I have plenty of shampoo and so I’m not looking for a replacement, but I did recently come near the end of my big container of liquid soap – I have been using a product from Sonnett that is marketed as handwash, but that I use in the shower too.

Soap and spaghetti

Soap and spaghetti

I stopped using bars of soap many years ago because I found that they irritated my skin (I used to be prone to eczema, although that has disappeared as I have got older). I seemed to be better with shower gels, particularly those based on coconut or other natural oils and with no artificial fragrance. However, recently it seems to have become relatively easy to buy soap from small producers who make it from natural oils, such as sunflower and olive, rather than petrochemicals or palm oil (which I avoid at all costs because even the ‘ethical’ stuff may not be). It turns out, unsurprisingly, that these are much gentler and suit my skin well. I’m delighted by this because this means I’m supporting small, local businesses and not paying for the transportation of water (effectively I’m buying a concentrate rather than a solution). In addition, these soaps tend to come in little or no packaging, which is yet another bonus. I would really like to find someone in my area who makes soap from lanolin because this fits in with my support for British wool producers and would further reduce transport of materials.

But what, I hear you ask, does this have to do with spaghetti? Well, in the same way that it is not a great idea to transport water around the world, I’ve recently been thinking that it’s not a good idea to transport air. And we do an awful lot of this. I’m thinking about goods that are packed ‘loose’ and so have gaps between all the individual bits. So, if you buy spaghetti you are being more environmentally sound than if you buy rigatoni – which not only has spaces between the bits, but also inside them! I suppose the best thing is to make your own, as Mr Snail does when he has time. Flour – the main ingredient – is generally quite tightly packed and you can add locally-produced eggs and oil if you want those ingredients.

So that’s today’s tip for  sustainable living: avoid products with extraneous air or water! Buy soap and spaghetti… just don’t serve them together.

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21 Comments

  1. Great – that made me think!

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  2. Me too! [thinking] I’ve never thought about ‘air space’ regarding pastas! I don’t buy them so I’m hoping that’s why – but now I have to think about the other stuff I buy …… sigh!

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  3. You could, of course, be your own ‘local supplier’! This website has a nice recipe (#5) for a palm oil-free shampoo bar, and having looked at the instructions for making it, I’m pretty sure it’s not beyond your capabilities! http://simplelifemom.com/2013/11/19/7-homemade-shampoo-bar-recipes

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  4. Sharon

     /  November 13, 2014

    If you want a very simple solution, you can wash your hair with baking soda (1-2 tablespoons, add a little water to make a paste) and condition it with a spritz or a splash of vinegar. I’ve been doing this for about a year and prefer it to shampoo; it’s a much cleaner feel.

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  5. My dear friend makes (and sells) beautiful soap and LUCKY ME I am a “tester” :-D. You would like her. Her real job is aussie native plant propagator. 😀

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  6. Hmmmm … air. Something new to consider.

    I’m always torn between spaghetti and bulkier pastas because although spaghetti generally works out very slightly cheaper (yes, I’m that tight!) it doesn’t tend to stretch so far as it looks like less on the plate. A consideration of transporting air brings spaghetti back to the fore.

    Life was far simpler when I was ignorant of these things, I must admit!

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    • I blame permaculture for many of my dilemmas – who’d have thought I’d be fretting about the shape of my pasta? You are right, though, about what looks like enough on the plate. Perhaps the answer is, actually, to eat home-grown potatoes!

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  7. jackiebridgen

     /  November 13, 2014

    I’ve always felt this way about bread. Apart from being full of nasty stuff very often, packaged, “cheap” supermarket bread is a bag (x) mostly full of air (x) and water (x)
    Even cheap supermarket flour is way better. And the bag’s paper!

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  8. Anne Phillips

     /  November 13, 2014

    I made the decision to stop using shower gels years ago as I had always used to use soap and decided that I had been hijacked by advertisements, There are many soaps around that suit the most delicate of skin and are truly natural. It is amazing how powerful adverts are even if we think we are immune!

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    • So true – however much we try we are seduced by marketing. I have actually realised now how much I like a bar of soap. I just need to sort out a soap dish as I’m currently having to keep my bar on the hand-crocheted wash cloth you can see in the picture. My soap at the sink is now on a magnetic wotsit, which works very well and means it lasts ages.

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  9. So much to think about, so many decisions to make! You bring up excellent points–I’m a little afraid of what I’ll find if I start looking around my house with these issues in mind!

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  10. Too busy in Sanctuary to be worrying about shampoo but we inherited some really good quality shampoo from our friends when they moved to Germany that contains pretty much nothing that is bad for you as our friend is a cancer survivor. I am sure I can come up with a use for the container or I could just use it to buy shampoo from the health food shop in bulk, another way to save on packaging. I make my own pasta and am thinking about making my own shampoo as well. Cheers for reminding me that it’s on my list 🙂

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  11. I’ve pretty much switched over to the baking soda and vinegar rinse (google “no-poo hair care” for more info). I keep a small bottle with about a fifth of it vinegar and the rest water for the rinse. For the wash, I put a tablespoon or less of Baking soda in a couple of cups of water, pour over and work in. No suds, but it works a treat. My hair is quite long, so sometimes I repeat the baking soda bit. When I want anything more, I use some special oil one of my sisters gave me; Marrakesh Oil. Smells lovely and makes my hair feel soft; also gives a bit of body, too. And shampoo you don’t want to use on your hair works well to wipe down the shower stall – it removes the soap splashes very well. You can also put a bit in the container for the toilet brush along with some water; helps with that daily ‘swish’. ~ Linne

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