We feel very strongly about reducing the single-use plastic pollution in our oceans and waterways, but there is another issue around liquid handwash that rarely gets spoken about or that many people are aware of. In this blog, we talk about the aquatic ‘bubble blanket’; what it is, how modern-day hygiene products are making the problem worse and what we can do to reduce it.

What is the ‘bubble blanket’?

According to an article published in the Science of the Total Environment Journal*,  sales of hand soaps (including liquid handwash) in the UK alone rose by 102% when the pandemic was declared. It was reported that hand-washing rose by a whopping 800% - you have to wonder whether anybody was actually washing their hands, pre-COVID! Hand-washing is a good thing; obviously, when done correctly it prevents the spread of germs and stops nasty bugs from circulating.

It’s great that we all have much cleaner hands than we did before. However, what nobody ever really talks about is the darker side of liquid handwash. Experts estimate that around 40% of a dose of liquid handwash is actually used to wash the hands - the remaining 60% slides off and down the drain. The product will then lather as it travels through the sewer system and that creates a ‘bubble blanket’ in our oceans and waterways. 

That’s an unpleasant thought, given the ingredients that are contained in some chemical liquid handwash products. Alarmingly, these products can contain tiny microplastic particles, undetectable to the human eye. The bubble blanket reduces the amount of oxygen in the water, suffocating fish, flora and fauna and contributes to declining wildlife numbers. It also means that the microplastic particles will end up back on our plates as part of the food chain. That’s enough to put anybody off of their dinner!

SNOAP = a kinder choice all round

Because of the unique design of the solid SNOAP dispenser, our products use around 30% less water than conventional liquid handwash products. There is no run-off of unused product, because the SNOAP is dispensed in a measured portion and the lather that goes down the drain is not toxic or harmful to wildlife or aquatic flora and fauna.

SNOAP has a luxurious, rich feel; because of the ingredients used in the products, your skin won’t become dry and chapped, leading to dermatitis. The shampoo bars are also formulated to be kind;  they are not full of chemicals that will strip your hair of oils and of course, the run-off is also kinder to the environment.

 If you’ve read our previous blogs you will know that SNOAP is a supporter of Project Seagrass and also a member of Surfers Against Sewage; our family is passionate about protecting our oceans, waterways, wildlife and indeed the planet, so that generations to come will be able to enjoy it as we do. We truly believe that our products enable people to be kinder to the environment without compromising on the quality of their personal care products. We are on a mission to reduce single-use plastic waste and we want to provide luxury at an affordable price. Everyone deserves to have that.

If you’ve got the bottle to change your choices and turn the tide on plastic pollution, sign up for our newsletter; as a SNOAPY, you will receive 10% off all of our products, for as long as you’re subscribed.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!




*Source: Chirani, M.R., Kowsari, E., Teymourian, T. and Ramakrishna, S. (2021), ‘Environmental impact of increased soap consumption during COVID-19 pandemic: Biodegradable soap production and sustainable packaging’, Science of the Total Environment 796 (2021) 149013. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.149013(Accessed 18 July 2023).

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