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A Visit to..., zero waste

A Visit to… The Soap Dispensary.

In the fall I heard of a store opening in Vancouver that refilled shampoo, dish detergent, laundry soap and much more. Now we had some real options for zero-waste living in Vancouver – The Soap Dispensary.

You may have read my posts about the definition of zero-waste. I consider it not what can be recycled but rather what can be avoided in the first place. If you had only one shampoo bottle for the rest of your life and just kept refilling it… that would be zero waste. I finally went there last week. It was quite an adventure that even included parallel parking. One of my friends and her toddler had to cancel at the last-minute so it was just me and my boys. I had accumulated all the empty soap containers I needed to make the refills zero-waste and even remembered to put them in the minivan. GPS in hand we got on the road to visit this store that I had been talking people’s ears off about. I had tried to save a number of laundry detergent bottles but each ended up being recycled by accident. This one made it because I hid it up on a high shelf in my laundry room!In December I gave up no-poo for good with a symbolic purchase of some shampoo and conditioner that I figured the bottles would be good for refilling. I still have some left but bought The Soap Dispensary’s brand of shampoo for the near future. Of course I couldn’t help but try it out. It’s fantastic! As good as any professional shampoo I’ve tried (and I’ve tried them all). It’s weightless, scentless and priced well.The boys bought some new toothbrushes. The handles are compostable so I am way happier with these toothbrushes than those electric ones people always buy our oldest (we have been guilty too). Our oldest chose an adult one for himself so that he could tell his apart from his brothers but it’s a little big for his mouth (surprisingly, ha ha).Ok. So my cupboard is not this organized but the photos look better with less junk food surrounding them!I bought a cloth for furoshiki with plans to use it to keep my work lunches together. It’ll make a great napkin-slash-placemat too. It will probably come on our next trip to Las Vegas to help reduce paper towel use in bathrooms without hot air dryers etc… I also love our new scrub brush with handle. It motivated me to scrub my kitchen sink.

Some of the liquids I purchased I had labeled for the pure fact that I am not the only person that lives in my house. The toothbrushes also came in packaging for obvious reasons. It has been recycled. Linh (one of the owners) was fantastic and patient with me and the kids. My kindergartener is full of ADHD energy and curiosity so he talked her ear off about Smurfs. My oldest acquired a miswak while there. The miswak is described better on their website blog but basically you bite it until it looks like a paintbrush and then you brush it on your teeth to clean them. He’s gotten to the paintbrush stage and thinks it tastes funny. Well he’s no real judge. He thinks vegetables taste funny too. I think I will try it next.

I will be back as soon as I can justify it. I’m looking at adding baking soda, epsom salts and conditioner to my collection of zero-waste goodies. If you want to learn more check them out at thesoapdispensary.com or even check out the wonderful Yelp reviews about them that are really descriptive and helpful.

Thanks again to Lihn (& Stewart who I didn’t meet) for a great experience and opening a great store!


Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. -Will Rogers


About stephanieough

Wife, mom, concerned citizen of the earth. Striving towards intentional living rather than blindly following. Former Education Specialist for a corporation, I have now taken a step back to spend time with my family and work closer to home. Hoping to reduce our waste through refusing, reducing and reusing so that we will not have to recycle as much. Also, I love to explore zero-waste fast food and take pictures of my sucesses. I'm a fan of British comedies like Red Dwarf and Black Adder, Kevin Smith and his movies, Asian food, documentaries, biographies and going to Las Vegas on vacation. If someone told me I could only listen to the Beatles for the rest of my life I would die happy.


8 thoughts on “A Visit to… The Soap Dispensary.

  1. Thank you for this informative post! I live in Vancouver and didn’t even know this store existed (until now)! I am disgusted at the amount of plastic that our family has mindlessly consumed over the years, and I am dedicated to making a concerted effort to consume less. I can’t wait to check out The Soap Dispensary!

    Posted by Erin | February 20, 2012, 1:31 pm
  2. Wonderful!! I wish, wish, wish we had something like that here! Where can I get compostable toothbrushes like that? I can’t find them anywhere!

    Posted by Jennifer Ward-Pelar | February 21, 2012, 1:27 pm

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