Solid shampoos are nothing new although not known to be as old as the original soap made by ancient Babylonians in 2800 B.C.. Soap shampoo has been around for over 100 years. In the early days of shampoo soap, stylists would boil shaved bar soap and use this to cleanse their customers hair. They could add other botanical ingredients making it aromatic as well as practical. The next step would be to bottle that and sell it! It didn't take long for someone to figure out how to do just that.
Shampoo as we know it now, detergent in liquid form coming out of a plastic bottle, is fairly new on the scene (only 70 years old). The first liquid shampoo is credited to a German scientist in 1927. The first commercial shampoo wasn't introduced until the 1930's and it really took off into what we know today in the 1960's and 1970's. Somewhere along the way, we picked up conditioners along with the shampoos because of the fact the chemicals used in the shampoos were causing damage to the cuticle and the hair fibers. Of course, we were told it was to give us silky manageable hair. For the manufacturer, their one bottle customer just became a two bottle customer and bottles started flying off the shelf. Bottled shampoo is a major market segment with staggering revenue and only one piece of the hair care market segment.
So in a short 60 -70 years we went from zero to $87.9 billion, yes Billion, dollar hair care industry filled with waste and excess that is not even needed. The global shampoo market alone is with $25.7 billion dollars. So you can see how there is a good deal of interest for big business to keep you bottle fed.
The problem with the bottle
The average person goes through 10 shampoo bottles a year and 11 shower gel bottles. As one individual you may be saying that 21 bottles is not that much of a difference. But here is where you need to understand the compounded impact. 21 bottles over a 10 year period becomes 210 bottles. That's just one person. Très Spa has been around longer than 10 years and we have a consumer base larger than one person so can you imagine how many plastic bottles we have diverted? What about the impact if it's a family of 4? Multiply the savings from one person by, let's say 10% of the planet population and what do you get. If the planet is currently 7.79 plus billion people that would be 779,000,000 plus 1 (you). That's a huge number of people!
So let's just talk about the USA, where we are and where Très Spa is created (act local and think global). Let's imagine we were able to get just 10% of the population to make a difference and switch over to solid shampoo and soap for their shower. The current US population is 328 million people so 10% of that population is 32,800,000 for a total of 6,888,000,000 bottles per year. That's the difference if only 10% of the USA population dropped the bottle and picked up a bar or two for a year! If they made it a lifestyle choice over 10 years that would be a savings of 68,880,000,000 plastic bottles diverted from choking the planet and devastating natural habitats. I can't even imagine what that many bottles would look like.
Sure there are recycle and reclaiming programs that work to a certain percent but a good deal still ends up in land fills. So why create the need when you don't have to? Seems silly when there is a better way, don't you think we should take advantage of the savings where they are easiest? Save the bottles for when you have to use them. You don't have to when it comes to shampoo or hand and body soap. There is a better way.
You can never fully escape the need for at least some amount of packaging. But the fact the bars are solid, you have more planet friendly options available. You will find that most of the companies who create solid shampoos, also work hard to make sure their shampoo packaging is sustainable. For Très Spa, we've tried a few options. One For a time we opted for custom printed boxes but the cost verses the value to our customers just didn't support it. Eventually we took a simple approach. We wrap our bars in 100% post consumer recycled paper and the labels are printed on 100% post consumer paper as well. The only way to improve on that is to hand you an un-wrapped bar. We tried that for a bit but, oddly enough, it created to much waste via damaged product. So far the tissue seems to be the best solution for our Green Warriors.
More reasons to make the change
It's cheaper! Solid shampoos have a far higher use rate over a bottle. For example, just one of the Très Spa Organic Shampoo's last our average customer 8 to 9 weeks compared to the 5 week average of a traditional bottle of detergent shampoo. And, since our shampoo's have no harsh chemicals, there is no need to use excessive amounts of conditioning agents to repair damage from the harsh chemicals found in traditional liquid shampoo.
Solid shampoo's are the best travel companion. They are compact and take up very little space. Since it is a solid product, you don't experience the same limitations you would have with a liquid. You can travel across any border on the planet with your Très Spa Organic Shampoo and no one will confiscate it. Having your shampoo travel with you also means you wont be dependent on the mini bottles of liquids found in hotel rooms. You can use your shampoo to clean your whole body, not just your hair. *I have even used it to clean clothes in a pinch. They will lift out dirt but they are superfatted so they aren't the best for laundry purposes. Still, it works in a pinch and it wont harm streams or rivers or natural habitats.
One of the other significant planet saving features of some solid shampoo's is what goes into them. We've all heard the turn of phrase “what you put in, you get out.” The same is true with consumer products. The ingredients that go into a product can have a huge impact on the planet from the raw materials to the run off after consumer use. For Très Spa, our commitment to sustainability is etched into the keystone of our company. The reason we formulate with ingredients from nature is so they can be harvested and processed for formulations and go full circle returning to nature without causing harm. Up stream and downstream, we pay attention to the impact our product may have. Sustainability is a full cycle loop.