Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Soap pods

I've been spending some time recently thinking about soap pods, which I've been using happily for a couple of years now. The whole issue of them having to travel a long distance has been bothering me lately as well as some bits and pieces I've read on the internet recently about how the increase in popularity of soap pods (also called soap nuts) has led to some exploitation of this resource and those who produce it. With this in mind and considering I've nearly finished what I have I emailed EcoLogic, the organic mini-market in Dundrum where I buy them from. I was delighted to see they have a website up and running and even more delighted when I had an answer to my email first thing the next morning. Here is what John (the owner) had to say:

"In relation to air miles and Soapods yes they do travel a distance - from Nepal and North India. Our supplier advertises the fact that they are derived from sustainable plantations paying proper wages. That said they do not carry a Fair Trade stamp but we know the people bringing them in and we would trust them.

The alternatives are E-cover which is manufactured in Belgium and Lillies which is manufactured down in Cork. The ingredients for both products may travel a distance I don't honestly know but I will endeavour to find out.

Though the soapods travel I would think that their overall environmental impact is less and they also help sustain people in less advantaged areas of our planet. They use no energy in the production or disposal process for the product or the packaging. If not the soapods then our next suggestion would be Lillie's Laundry cleaner made in Cork, and though it is packaged in plastic containers we do offer refils.

Great to see people thinking things through. Looking forward to seeing you at the shop where we source Irish wherever possible and if not Irish as close to Ireland as possible."

Although I have shopped a good few times at Eco Logic I haven't been there since the beginning of summer and a lot of the changes in my thinking around the whole area of local and organic etc. have happened since then. I suspected that their policy would be local first but it's nice to have this confirmed. If you're in the area please do try and support this great shop - they also have stalls at some of the farmers' markets on the weekend see www.ecologic.ie for details.

I've decided to continue using soappods for now.


soapnutlady said...

Thanks for staying with soapods.
i am the director of the company.
Soapods are only harvested once a year so if there is any exploitation ( which we have been to India to confirm there is not, as best as we can find out!) would not be long term.
My supplier has now planted a plantation (but it takes 8 years before it bears fruit!) so we will then be able to work with the fairtrade foundation.At the moment soapnuts are a wild crop so it is collected from amny different suppliers.
Please do call or email with any quesrions.
Penny Morgan

Tracy said...

Thanks for your research Moonwaves, I'm tempted to try them out now. How do you find they work on dirty clothes? I have two children who are very good at getting dirty.

Moonwaves said...

I've been using them for a couple of years now and they do for me anyway. The one thing I have found that isn't always entirely removed first time round is dried in blood. With two kids though I imagine you need to do washing fairly often so stuff probably doesn't get the chance to get really dried in.

The only other observation I've made is that white sports socks seem to go a bit grey. Why this is when anything else white comes out perfect I don't know. They were very cheap socks though and I've more or less decided it's more to do with that than anything else.

I did have one white top that got splashed with old teabag (was emptying compost at work and it was all a bit wet) and it has never come out. I've tried with ariel, bold and vanish oxy action as well though so I think it's one of those stains I'll never get rid of. It's sitting with a pile of other stuff waiting to be dyed a different colour now. I'm waiting till I get the energy to try and do some natural dying so it'll probably be spring before I get around to that!

Rebecca said...

Hi Moonwaves, I really do enjoy your passionate reviews ... I've been using soapods too for quite a while. We began using them as my daughter has very sensitive skin and even washing powders of the gentlest kind agitated her eczema. A little reading up on the ingrediants tells one why! The soapods were a big hit and her skin calmed considerably. I find them just fine for getting out stains etc. Even if the odd stain stays in, I'd rather that than the alternatives. I love the fact that we can also pop the brown paper bag packaging into the compost!

Another laundry powder alternative we use are ecoballs. Google it for info.

Anonymous said...

I bought some soapods from naturally green a few months back and they are much better than some of the powders i have used in the past. I have just bought some of the soapods essential oils and my washing now smells better than any powder i've used. Definitely worth the investment.

Anonymous said...

Inside some bags of soapods are what look like black marbles; they are in fact seeds. I would recommend planting one if you come across one; that way you are providing them to yourself. No distance travelled!