A camping trip in the great outdoors never hurt anyone right? If conducted properly, camping, backpacking and other outdoor activities certainly should be enjoyable, positive experiences both for the participants as well as the environment. However, a common issue that results from unprepared outdoor enthusiasts that affects the natural environment is the use of shampoo. Millions of people enjoy the outdoors every day, but few of us enjoy being dirty or grimy for extended periods of time. Natural showers in waterfalls, lakes, or streams help us to embrace our inner Thoreau, but they pose problems for the ecosystem.
Even biodegradable soap is not as eco-friendly as it may appear. Soap, even the biodegradable kind, requires surrounding soil to assist in the breakdown process, but in standing water like lakes and slow-moving bodies of water, the majority of sediment resides at the bottom while the soap residue lingers in the top layers of the water column. (more…)