The bathroom is a surprisingly large source of plastic waste. Is a Boie USA Body Scrubber a meaningful eco-upgrade from the plastic loofah?
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I’m on a mission to make my half of the bathroom a zero waste zone. So far I have the last razor I’ll ever buy along with plastic-free shaving cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and toothpaste.
Recently, I bought a Boie USA Body Scrubber to see if it could serve as an eco-friendly replacement for my old scrubbing standby — the loofah.
The loofah works great, but at the end of the day it’s just a rats-nest of single-use plastic. I can’t even imagine how many loofahs and sponges I’ve been through in my life, but I have a good idea of where they are now… and it’s not Loofah Heaven or back under the Earth’s crust where they came from.
Based on Boie USA’s description, their body scrubber is an eco-friendly loofah alternative. Let’s dive in to see 1) if it works and 2) what makes it eco-friendly or not.
Does the Boie USA Body Scrubber Work?
Honestly, it took me a few weeks to get the hang of using my Boie USA scrubber with my favorite organic bar soaps. For the record, the company recommends liquid body wash — but I gave that up long ago because of the plastic packaging. Just rub the bar soap directly on the scrubber for a few seconds then apply it to your body.
It takes a minute to figure out the three-finger Ninja Turtle grip you need to use to scrubber without the edges folding under. Once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy to use and it works great for lathering suds and exfoliating areas.
The bristles do a great job of exfoliating and they are not scratchy or hard by any means. Also it’s super easy to rinse this scrubber out, whereas a loofah takes 5 minutes and god-knows how many gallons of water. I completely buy Boie USA’s claims that it is antimicrobial and holds less germs than a loofah or washcloth.
It also sticks to the wall very well, which is nice since the one shower shelf I can call mine is overflowing with soap and shampoo bars. And I’ll admit, it is super satisfying to slap this thing against the shower wall.
This product is meant to last about six months, so for $10 + shipping it’s worth every penny.
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Is Boie USA Eco-Friendly?
This is a tough question to answer because Boie USA is kind of dancing the line here. We typically analyze sustainability based on materials and packaging. Let’s start with materials.
According to Boie USA’s sustainability page, the Body Scrubber is made from “a rubber-like material called thermoplastic elastomer.” It is BPA-free and easily recyclable… if it reaches a suitable recycling facility. But at the end of the day it’s still plastic and, as such, will spend hundreds of years drifting through the biosphere.
We don’t generally give out points for recycling at Emeraldology because its simply not a meaningful solution for dealing with plastic. Even Boie USA admits “100% recyclable products, like ours, don’t always get processed correctly” on its sustainability page.
However, they did set up a send-back program to reuse the materials themselves, which is a notable effort on their part and much-preferred to chancing it at municipal recycling operations.
Compared to a loofah, this is a huge upgrade. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing Boie USA switch to plant-based materials instead of plastics.
Boie USA gets an A+ on packaging and shipping materials. The scrubber came via the US Postal Service (yay) in a small cardboard box wrapped in a 100% compostable mailer.
This is great! I can throw both in my yard waste bin and send them to a industrial compost. But it makes me wonder, why did Boie USA go for compostable packaging and not a compostable product?
Is Boie USA Worth a Shot?
I certainly think so. In fact, I’ve been back for seconds because it’s working much better than a loofah and creating much less waste.
Is it the most sustainable body scrubber on the market? Probably not, but it’s certainly on the eco-friendly side of the divide, and Boie USA has shown significant effort to reduce the overall environmental footprint of this product with its take-back program and compostable packaging.
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Feature photo by the author. Copyright Emeraldology 2020.