Soap Dispensary offers more fantastic with less plastic

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      Plastic waste is often associated with bottles of glorified tap water—products that many Vancouverites have, thankfully, eliminated from their day-to-day lives.

      But think about the vessels that hold your oils, vinegars, foaming face washes, and scented shampoos, and you’ll notice that the nonbiodegradable material also plagues a startling number of nooks and crannies in the average household.

      It’s a problem the Soap Dispensary (3718 Main Street) identified early on. The shop essentially functions as a refill station: simply drop off your empty plastic container—or pay a small deposit for one of the dispensary’s nifty glass jars—and pick it up full (from $1 for 100 mL) of your choice of ecofriendly soap, all-purpose cleaner, or hair or skin product from brands like Live for Tomorrow, Sapadilla, and Dr. Bronner’s.

      It’s a brilliant way to reduce your environmental footprint while keeping your home clean and toxin-free.

      The dispensary also carries its own line of natural cleaning products, many of them dye- and scent-free, and it’s packed to the brim with sustainably crafted household supplies—think bamboo toothbrushes, functional glass straws, and ultra-absorbent Swedish dishcloths.

      For the holidays, we recommend stuffing the stockings of your loved ones with a gift card from this East Side gem, which can be used toward refills of soaps, DIY soap-making and body-care ingredients, and even edibles.

      Or you can wrap up a selection of the shop’s reusable glass jars (from $1 each), available in a range of sizes and gorgeous colours like blue and amber, which can be dropped off for fills.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.