In my zero waste journey, I’ve noticed a number of folks are steering away from using laundry detergent. In search of a more natural alternative, people are now turning to soap berries. I was desperate to try these out due to the rave reviews, and now I’m officially a convert!
Getting rid of what you’ve got
Washing powder usually comes in little cardboard boxes. These should be recyclable, as long as there’s no residue left over. The little plastic scoop can be kept for bulk buying purposes, otherwise they’re destined for landfill. Some liquid detergents will be recyclable once empty and some won’t, so check the label on the back for the little recyclable symbol. But the best you can do is to keep your bottles for bulk buying.
For a while, we were topping up our laundry liquid in an old floor cleaner bottle at our local bulk buy shops. It cost around $5 to fill to the top, and was a decent quality detergent. Some bulk buy stores also have laundry powder too!
Although buying laundry liquid in bulk was a perfectly fine solution, I’d seen the term ‘soap berries’ popping up on lots of zero waste forums and decided to check them out. A soap berry is the the dried shell of a little fruit, grown on the Sapindus Mukorossi tree in Nepal. This little shell is high in ‘Saponin’, which is otherwise known as ‘Natures’ Soap’.
Australian owned brand That RedHouse, have the monopoly on the soap berry industry, and are available through plenty of online retailers. This brand places a huge focus on sustainability, and state that soap berry production is 100% sustainable. The production of soap berries, picked by the local community, also helps to reduce deforestation in the Himalayas – so it’s a win win! I bought mine in store at my local Hill Street, but other places around Hobart like Teros sell them too.
That RedHouse also donate a portion of their profits to Open Heart International, a charity that focuses on women’s health in Nepal. If you want to read more about this, click here for a very interesting read.
All it takes is five soap berries in a little mesh bag (that comes with the berries) and simply pop it in with your next wash. Each bag of 5 berries will last 4-5 washes and will break apart when they’ve reached their peak. That equates to around 10c per wash load. Once finished, these little suckers can go straight into the compost bin. Because they don’t have a natural scent, I pop in 4-5 drops of essential oil in as well.
Whether it’s buying laundry detergent in bulk or testing out some soap berries, these are cost-effective changes that will help to reduce waste when washing clothes. Even further, we’ve reduced our consumption by using cold wash only, and exclusively air drying our washing. No dryers in this house!
For That RedHouse, head to https://www.thatredhouse.com.au/
For That RedHouse soap berries, head to https://www.biome.com.au/soap-nuts/15377-soapberry-shells-250g-799439052888.html
For That RedHouse commitment to Open Heart International, head to https://www.thatredhouse.com.au/pages/open-heart-international
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