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Homemade soaps vegetarian-friendly option

Local business hosts how-to workshops on handmade, plant-based soaps

Kate Duda mixes a batch of soap. Photo by Laura Brougham.
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Reported by Laura Brougham

Making handmade soap is an option for vegetarians who prefer to use high quality bars that do not have animal-based ingredients.

People can make soap with plant and vegetable fats, which they often choose to do because the product they make agrees with their lifestyles and complements their principles.

“[People come to the workshops] because of the quality and the process and the control they have over the ingredients not necessarily because it’s vegetarian,” said Kate Duda, the owner of Plenty + Spare, a Vancouver-based soap-making company.

 A reduced carbon footprint

Kate Duda demonstrates how to make plant-based soap at a March 7 Homestead Junction workshop. Photo by Laura Brougham.

“You can make an incredibly high-quality soap with any kind of scrap animal fats that you’ve sourced locally and in that case you’ve reduced your shipping footprint, you’ve reduced your packaging footprint, you’ve avoided palm oil, that sort of thing,” said Duda, who teaches soap-making classes.

The option to make soap with plant oils attracted Jennifer Bigler.

“I’m vegetarian, I don’t eat meat, so I don’t want to be using animal products on my skin,” said Bigler, who works at Cambridge Uniforms.

“It’s handmade, there’s natural glycerine in the soap, there’s no added unnecessary ingredients,” Duda said, explaining a main difference between conventional soap sold at a grocery store and handmade soap.

Homemade option cost-effective

Buying ingredients to make soap at a bulk supply shop can be less expensive than buying them at a grocery store, and Duda encourages people to buy the equipment they’ll need to make soap at home from a second-hand store.

Rick Havlak, owner of Homestead Junction, where soap-making workshops are taught, said the workshop is important because people become more familiar with a product they use everyday.

“Soap making was actually one of the first workshops we offered, back in 2012 when we first opened,” Havlak said. “Almost everybody uses [soap], and almost nobody really understands how it’s made.”

Homestead Junction most recently hosted a soap-making workshop on March 7.

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