Field Trip to the Soap Dispensary!

Have you ever been disproportionately stoked to purchase soap and other toiletries? I certainly was on recent excursion to a very awesome specialty store on Main Street…

For anyone who remotely values personal hygiene, purchasing toiletries during Plastic-Free July can be the bane of anyone’s existence. From toothpaste to shampoo to body wash to deodorant to excellent sunscreen, it seems that preventing skin cancer and cavities is an impossible task without biting the bullet and purchasing single-use plastics.

As of quite recently I’ve eliminated one item on this list. George has long been a proponent of the “No Poo” method (eliminating shampoo altogether). A few months ago he enthusiastically described the benefits to hair health (not to mention to the environment as well, by eliminating hair product packaging. I even felt his scalp; what he was preaching seemed too good to be true. So upon being challenged to go several weeks without using shampoo (every girl’s nightmare), I tested No Poo out for myself, and after several weeks of bearing with temporary grease this skeptic was converted to a believer. I now only rinse with baking soda from time to time which comes in recyclable cardboard packaging, and is allegedly less harsh on the hair follicles.

However I haven’t yet graduated to hippie-who-doesn’t-bathe-at-all status, so there still remains the issue of finding soap and dental floss and other necessary hygiene items that typically only come packaged with single-use plastics…

The refill menu offering everything from glass cleaner to laundry detergent to mouthwash to Shea Butter 
Cloth coffee filters: every sustainable caffeine addict’s dream.







Re-useable glass straws!









Enter The Soap Dispensary (or rather, I entered the Soap Dispensary). I felt like a kid in a candy store. The place is known for its “Bring Your Own Container” approach to selling soaps, shampoos, and other toiletries, but it offers so much more. Alongside the numerous bulk tubs of soaps and re-usable vessels for purchase, they also sell eco-friendly wooden brushes of every shape and size, re-useable food bags, glass straws, re-usable cloth coffee filters, dental hygiene products, and even re-useable feminine products.


So naturally, I got my fill of citrus-scented liquid body soap in a fashionable swing-top jar which was purchased there. I was also enticed by their eco-friendly dental products; plastic toothbrushes eventually make their way to our landfills so I purchased one of those bamboo brushes, along with biodegradable dental floss.

Another happy purchase was this certified organic cotton sandwich sack because, to be frank, I despise Tupperware.

My booty: re-useable sandwich bag, wooden toothbrush and floss, and delectable citrus-scented liquid body soap in a glass flip-top vessel. Win. 

When I have a full day ahead of me that involves commuting to school or work on crowded public transit, I do not want to lug around an extra lunch bag with a bulky Tupperware, or take up precious volume in my backpack that already requires space for textbooks, laptop, gym clothes, work uniform etc. I often bring nuts and trail mix on the go so this is a fantastic alternative to those plastic sandwich bags.


Despite this small triumph I still have inevitably accumulated more plastic waste than I should like, as Plastic-Free July comes to an end in the next few days we’ll be showcasing our problem items and re-capping the experience. It may be the end of July but the lessons learned will remain with us hopefully for a long time.

Blog post by Keila Stark, Assistant Director External