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Plastic Free July: Reducing plastic use

Plastic Free July: Reducing plastic use

“The soul, like the body, accepts by practice whatever habit one wishes it to contact.”
- Socrates.

Habits are a conscious choice we make, to adopt certain behaviours that support our values, beliefs or the change we want to see. Changing behaviour is hard, but it a result of the actions we choose to take.

One of BAR OF HOPE's core values is sustainability and the desire to reduce or remove plastic bottles from everyday household use, since it is estimated that New Zealand households generate a staggering 1.76 billion plastic bottles & containers of waste per year.

Recycling is available, however nearly half of all recyclable plastics end up in landfill, mostly due to confusion on what can be recycled. In addition to that, most New Zealand councils would only accept plastics number 1 or 2, and sometimes 5, leaving plastics 3, 4, 6 & 7 to go to landfill. Therefore reduction is a better strategy. Soap bars, by default, achieve this goal - but we can and should do more.


The initial plan for the dishwashing soap bar was to have it in a cute decorative cup - since the intent was to replace the dishwashing liquid plastic bottle with an elegant and more sustainable system, and so Cup o' Dishwashing Soap was born. The idea was originally met with some skepticism, but we felt strongly about it and decided to give it a go anyway. And lucky we did!

Old habits die hard, etc. We know now from selling quite a few of these and getting feedback afterwards that once someone decides to take the plunge and give switching to dishwashing soap a try, they absolutely love it! Not only is it a visually appealing addition to a kitchen (certainly much more so than a plastic bottle!), but the soap itself is brilliant, easy to use, bubbly and cuts through the dirt and grease easily, leaving the dishes beautifully clean.

Solid dishwashing soap options

Since the soap in cups was such a success, development of different options quickly followed and we now also offer the Block o' Dishwashing Soap and Puck o' Dishwashing Soap. There are also BYO cup and refill options available.

The amount of plastic dishwashing liquid bottles manufactured yearly, once combined, way surpasses 11 times the height of Mount Everest, so this was an easy and logical place to start.

And in the spirit of reducing, reusing and recycling, the porcelain cups are sourced from charity shops!


Next in line were body care products like hand creams, body moisturisers and lip balms, that normally come in plastic bottles, tubes or pots. BAR OF HOPE's natural solid lotion bars, available in either a beeswax wrap (hand made, from handpicked Op Shop salvaged fabric) or paper based push tube was the natural answer there. Squeezable plastic tubes or those with a pump lid are made from non recyclable plastics, so even with the best intentions, these products, if packaged using plastic, will inevitably end up in landfill.

Plastic free packaging moisturisers and lip care

And last but not least is the shampoo and conditioner bars: Good Hair Days. Shampoo alone is responsible for 550 million bottles a year which end up as waste, and it also seems weird that the main function of the bottle is to hold the water contents which is 90%-95% of the bottle contents.

Good Hair Days Botanical Shampoo Bar and Palm-Free Conditioner Bar are not only plastic free, but also contain no water. This is a deliberate decision to allow packing in as many hard-working hair nourishing ingredients as possible.

Hopefully this article inspires you on your plastic free journey. We know it’s just the beginning for us. Governments around the world have recognised the plastic crisis we are all facing and large corporations are also coming on board with big funds dedicated to plastic alternatives R&D.

We can't wait to see all the innovation it brings.

Until then, stay clean