What is Biodegradable Soap?

Camping tent located beside a lake and forest with campers using biodegradable soap and shampoo

Biodegradable refers to the ability of a substance or material to be broken down and decomposed by natural biological processes, typically carried out by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and other living organisms. In the context of consumer products like soaps and shampoos, a biodegradable product is one that can be broken down into simpler, environmentally benign substances over time.

Soap, shampoo, conditioner, and other personal care products can be made biodegradable through the use of environmentally friendly ingredients and formulations. Here are some key factors that contribute to the biodegradability of personal care products:

  1. Surfactants (Cleaning Agents) from Natural Sources:

    • Biodegradable Surfactants: Both soap and shampoo contain surfactants, which are responsible for foaming and cleansing. Biodegradable products use surfactants derived from natural sources, such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil, instead of synthetic ones like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
    • At EarthSuds, we use SLSA, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, and Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate which are mild, safe, and biodegradable surfactants.
  2. Natural Ingredients:

    • Plant-Based Ingredients: Biodegradable soaps and shampoos often include natural, plant-based ingredients that are easily broken down by microorganisms in the environment.
    • At EarthSuds, all our products are made from naturally derived ingredients.
  3. No Harmful Chemicals:

    • Avoidance of Synthetic Polymers: Some personal care products contain synthetic polymers that can persist in the environment. Biodegradable formulations exclude such ingredients.
    • No Toxic Additives: Harsh chemicals and toxic additives that could harm aquatic life are avoided in biodegradable products.
    • At EarthSuds, our products are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and silicones. They're also cruelty-free and vegan.
  4. Natural Fragrances:

    • Plant-Based Fragrances: Synthetic fragrances can contain chemicals that are not easily biodegradable. Biodegradable soaps and shampoos may use plant-based fragrances.
    • At EarthSuds, we scent our products using biodegradable essential oils.
  5. Minimal Packaging Impact:

    • Eco-Friendly Packaging: Biodegradable soaps and shampoos may come in packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials, reducing overall environmental impact.
    • At EarthSuds, our packaging is reusable and/or recyclable. We've designed our packaging and offering to promote a circular economy.
  6. Sustainable Practices:

    • Sustainable Sourcing: Biodegradable products often prioritize ingredients sourced through sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.
    • At EarthSuds, we source local ingredients from sustainable suppliers to limit our environmental impact.

While these factors contribute to the biodegradability of soaps and shampoos, it's important to be a mindful user. You should try to use these products in places with adequate drainage and wastewater treatment systems. If using them in lakes or streams, limit your usage to small quantities.

Give our biodegradable products a try on your next adventure!