LAUNDRY & CLEANING
In North America Alone it is estimated we use 900 million plastic laundry jugs each year.
From the moment plastic is created, its negative impact on the environment begins. Oil extraction is typically the first step needed to formulate plastic. Crude oil is a non-renewable resource, meaning its quantities are extremely finite and it’s being used at a much faster rate than it can be replaced. Petroleum for plastic manufacturing is extracted from in between layers of the Earth’s crust, running the risk of oil spills or oil fires that contribute to waste and pollution.
Once the oil is extracted, it’s shipped to a refinery for distillation. The high demand for plastic means that there is also a very high volume of transportation needed to ship these large quantities of oil across the world. This burns fossil fuels and emits greenhouse gases, creating more waste and pollution before the plastic has even been formed yet.
In order to create the high density polyethylene, a process called cracking creates the ethylene gas, which ultimately attaches to form polymers that create the sturdy polyethylene that can be molded to take the shape of a laundry detergent jug.
After the HDPE plastic is formulated, the plastic is shipped yet again to a factory that specializes in bottle manufacturing and packaging. Once the jugs take form, they are sent off to be filled with the laundry detergent and then they’re off to the shelves where we see them in the grocery stores.
2) Your Home
Once you purchase the HDPE plastic jug of detergent, it’s used until empty and then discarded making room for you to buy another one. Although HDPE plastic is 100% recyclable and you may think putting them in the recycling bin solves the problem, even then only 30% of these jugs are properly recycled.
In 2018, 68,000 shipping containers filled with plastic recyclables were sent to underdeveloped countries, where waste management is poor. Not only are these developing countries facing obstacles to manage their country’s own recycling, they are being overwhelmed with over one million tons of American plastic waste every year. In 2015, only 9% of America’s plastic was properly recycled and anything that wasn’t was sent to landfills to decompose for hundreds of years.
4) Landfills, Oceans, and Incineration
For the jugs that skip over recycling, their final stop is one of three places: the ocean, the landfills, or incineration. Plastic within each of these three stops pose an extreme environmental threat.
Oceans: Eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, accounting for over 80% of all marine debris. Once plastic is dumped into the ocean, it sticks around for a very long time. Over time, the plastic jug will break down into tiny pieces of micro-plastics. These micro-plastics enter our ocean’s marine life, injuring many species and contaminating our food sources. Covering our oceans with plastic, also has a major impact on our climate as plastic traps sunlight to make our oceans warmer and accumulate toxic pollutants that attach to its surface.
Landfills: Once plastic jugs end up in landfills, they can take up to 500 years to properly decompose. That means piles and piles of plastic jugs will be sticking around for a very long time. While they are sitting in landfills, plastic jugs will also leak pollutants into the soil and groundwater, running the risk of contamination.
Incineration: Some of the plastic jugs will end up in incinerators to be burned. Although this process is thought to release less greenhouse gases than landfills, toxic pollutants, such as carbon dioxide and mercury, are still emitted during the process and the process uses energy that is non-renewable.
DITCH THE BOTTLE
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•Choose plastic free, concentrated alternatives free from triclosan, paragons, phthalates, phosphates and artificial fragrances and dyes.
The Grove Co does a whole series of plastic free and thus more sustainable cleaning alternatives in concentrated glass bottles - Tub and Tile Cleaner, Daily Shower Cleaner, Floor Cleaner, All Purpose Household Cleaner and Glass Cleaner. Just pour the concentrate in to a reusable bottle and mix with water. You can buy them directly from The Grove Co. 95% plant based ingredients and 100% natural fragrance. Free from triclosan, parabens phthalates, phosphates, and dyes. The Grove Co also does a Liquid dish soap in an infinitely recyclable aluminum bottle. Just pour the soap in to a reusable bottle and recycle the aluminum one. You can buy it here. These products are all a first step to the company going completely plastic free by 2025.
All natural cleaning products that are sustainably sourced and concentrated so we don't have to ship billions of pounds of water around the planet. Just add the concentrates and water to the reusable glass bottles and get cleaning. For every order you make Supernatural plants two trees to offset the carbon emission. Counters and granite cleaners, wood floor cleaner, glass and mirror cleaner and bath and tile cleaner. They also do a hand sanitizer in a glass bottle. You can subscribe or order as you go here.
An all purpose cleaner made from food waste. Say that again?! An all purpose cleaner made from food waste. Yes you heard that right. Veles takes food waste, diverts it from landfills and makes an all purpose cleaner through a biorefining process where the food waste is stabilized and sterilized and then separated into base components, which are further refined and derived into organic chemicals. 97% of the cleaner is made from food waste (they could't figure out how to make the smell from it, but they say they tried!) It is made in New jersey with waste mainly from Googles office at the moment. The refillable bottle is made from aluminum with a reusable spray attachment. Refills are delivered in glass bottles. You can get hold of them here.
•Don't buy plastic jugs with washing liquid full of chemicals. Choose plastic free, concentrated alternatives free from triclosan, paragons, phthalates, phosphates and artificial fragrances and dyes.
•Wash clothes in cold water when possible.
•Hang your clothes to dry when you can and use wool dryer balls when you can't.
•Use a micro plastic catching bag to prevent the micro plastics from reaching the ocean when washing synthetic fabric.
Dropp's did the original laundry pod way back when. They now do laundry detergent pods, stain and odor pods, scent booster pods, and oxi booster pods. All in sustainable packaging, completely water soluble PVOH pods (What are PVOH pods you might wonder? You can read all bout it here.) Delivered to your door in a recyclable and compostable box, with tape and shipping label that is also recyclable and compostable. Made in the US. Subscribe to have them delivered every 4 months or buy as you need. Check them out on their website or on Amazon.
Well Earth Goods is premeasured laundry strips without the bottle. They are fragrance free, paragon free, phosphate free, free of added dyes, free of chlorine, free of 1,4-dioxane, as certified by independent laboratory tests It is readily biodegradable in accordance with OECD 310D, hypoallergenic, certified by independent dermatologists, vegan: no animal-based ingredients or testing on animals by us or our ingredient suppliers. Plastic Free and lightweight-saves CO2 in transportation and saves space at home. Learn more here. Well Earth carries a whole bunch of plastic free options in their store.
7th Generation does zero plastic laundry detergent tablets that arrives in a recyclable steel packaging. Biodegradable, hypoallergenic, Leaping Bunny-Certified and EPA approved. You Can find them at The Grove Collective where you can also fin other zero waste, plastic free cleaning products of theirs like dishwasher detergents, powdered hand soap, toilet bowl cleaner and bathroom and kitchen cleaner. You can also buy the bundle from there.
Sheets Laundry Club pre measured laundry strips are Eco-Friendly, Plastic Free with recyclable paper packaging, septic safe and HE compatible. One sheet in the washing machine per wash (unless is is a bigger load-then use two) The sheets dissolve in hot or cold water and are made without ingredients that are the leading causes of skin irritation, making them perfect for kids and adults with sensitive skin. They also have compostable dryer sheets. Find them on Amazon.
These unscented laundry detergent sheets from Kind Laundry make doing the laundry easy, mess-free, and waste-free! These sheets are completely biodegradable, cruelty free, and toxin-free making them safe for your family and pets, and the environment. Each box is enough for 60 loads of laundry.
To use: Toss one sheet into your load of laundry and continue as you normally would. Find them at Sun & Swell or Amazon. They also do a plastic- and phosphate free, vegan and plastic free stain remover.
Made from organic and natural ingredients, one 32oz jar of The Simply Co. laundry detergent will clean up to 60 loads of laundry.
Using all natural ingredients that you can actually pronounce in a glass jar with a metal lid. The laundry powder is 100% biodegradable & septic safe. Safe for babies and kids.
HE compatible and Made in the USA. Find it at Package Free Shop.
The Grove Co. vows to be plastic free by 2025. Their laundry detergent sheets are a good start on that route. These biodegradable, dissolvable sheets are made with plant-based ingredients and contains no optical brighteners or dyes. They are made with 100% natural fragrance using essential oils and plant extracts. The packaging is made from fully recyclable paper packaging. Find them at The Grove Co.
The best way to dry your clothes is to let the sun and wind do the work but we know that's not always possible. Wool dryer balls can reduce drying time up to 20-40% depending on the load size. They also soften and fluff your laundry and reduce static cling. There are hundreds of brands but we like these from Dropp's made from 100% New Zealand wool, and in compostable packaging or these from Friendship Wool that you can buy from Earth Hero. These dryer balls are made from 100% organic and cruelty free New Zealand Wool and are hand made in Nepal by Woman with disabilities for fair wages and in ethical and environmentally conscious conditions. Or get a set with the dryer balls and essential oils from The Grove Co.
Recent estimations have concluded that synthetic clothes contributes to about 35% of the global release of micro plastics to the oceans. Stop microfibers from shedding and ending up in the ocean by washing your clothes in a micro plastic catching bag like the Guppy friend. The Guppyfriend catches up to 86% of micro plastics inside the bag and you can dispose of them properly. Guppyfriend also donates profits to STOP! Micro waste and STOP! Plastic Academy non profits to raise awareness of micro plastic pollution. You can buy them straight from Guppyfriend or from Earth Hero.
With about 35% of the global release of micro plastics to the oceans coming from synthetic clothing and no sign of synthetic use slowing down the shedding and release has to be stopped from entering the ocean. The Cora Ball does just that-Although not quite as efficient as the guppy bag it requires no work on your part. No separating your laundry in to bags (which really isn't that much of work either) just throw it in. There have been two independent tests to determine the effectiveness of the Cora Ball. Cora Ball prevented 31% and 26% of microfiber pollution in the Napper and McIlwraith studies respectively. You can buy it from Dropps.