LAUNDRY

The average American family does roughly 300 loads of laundry every year. That will require about 12,000 gallons of water and will consume an enormous amount of energy. According to one study, the carbon dioxide emissions of our doing laundry is somewhere around 179 million metric tons. Things you can do to reduce your energy usage and save money are:

  • Replace your older machines with Energy Star appliances. Energy Star certified washers use about 25% less energy and 33% less water than regular washers. If every clothes washer purchased in the U.S. was ENERGY STAR certified, we could save more than $3.3 billion each year and prevent more than 19 billion pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions, equal to the emissions from more than 1.8 million vehicles.
  • Whenever possible, wash your laundry in cold water. Around 90 percent of the energy used by a washing machine goes to heating the water. The American Cleaning Institute estimated that a household could cut its emissions by 864 pounds of carbon per year by washing four out of five loads in cold water.
  • Another benefit of washing in cold water is that fabrics won’t break down as much, and this could reduce the amount of microplastics getting into the environment. A single wash can release up to 700,000 small synthetic fibers that make their way into our rivers, streams and eventually the ocean.
  • Air dry your cloths whenever possible. If it isn’t possible, then use the high-speed spin on your washer, and use dryer balls to help separate cloths and shorten drying time.

In addition to energy consumption, there are other environmental concerns lurking in the laundry. Many laundry detergents on the market today contain a host of harmful chemicals including formaldehyde, phosphates, ammonium sulfate, and dioxane (this carcinogen can cause skin, eye, and lung inflammation and can spontaneously combust!).

Many dryer sheets emit endocrine disrupting compounds and chemicals associated with asthma. And they are not safety tested since manufacturers of laundry and cleaning products are not required to test them.

The good news is that there are more and more companies offering safer alternatives to our present laundry habits.

Tru Earth Eco-strips

IMAGE COURTESY OF: Tru Earth

Tru Earth Eco-Strips are an alternative to liquid or pod laundry detergents. They are thin foam strips made from polyvinyl alcohol that dissolves completely in water. Each laundry strip packs ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly cleaning power into a tiny, pre-measured strip of detergent that you just toss in the wash. Its low-sudsing formula works in all types of washing machines, including high-efficiency (HE).

The smart formulation effectively seeks out and dislodges dirt molecules and stains, keeping them in suspension until they are rinsed away. It makes your laundry washing chore easier, healthier, more economical, and much kinder to our planet.

The product is free of parabens, phosphate, added dyes, and chlorine bleach. They are hypoallergenic and vegan. Their cardboard packaging is plastic-free and both biodegradable and recyclable.

From the manufacturer:

We care about the future of the world we live in. This is why Tru Earth Eco-Strips laundry detergent has a dramatically smaller eco-footprint than liquid and powder detergents. Its packaging uses less plastic, and its light weight reduces transportation fuel consumption and global-warming carbon emissions by 94% compared to today’s leading-brand liquid and powder detergent.

DID YOU KNOW

1 billion laundry jugs are discarded in the United States annually. Once empty, only an estimated 30 percent of these high-density polyethylene (HPDE) jugs are recycled. The remaining 70 percent ends up in landfills, or clogs oceans and waterways.

Dropps Laundry Pods

IMAGE COURTESY OF: DROPPS

Dropps’ eco-friendly, biodegradable pods are a convenient and earth-friendly way to do laundry. They are non-toxic, free of dye and phosphate and are delivered in recyclable, repulpable, compostable cardboard packaging, helping to eliminate single plastic use.

Founders Lenore Propper Schwartz and her son Jonathan Propper were the first to produce and market detergent pods, beating Tide by 7 years. Today they sell direct to consumers with pods delivered to your door. You can make a one-time purchase or choose a subscription plan and save money. Dropps has expanded its product line to include dish detergent pods, laundry bags, and wool dryer balls.

From the company:

“Take a look at our laundry list of responsible and sustainable practices: plant-based ingredients, no animal testing, and recyclable and compostable cardboard packaging to eliminate single use plastic. We set high standards to bring you peace of mind and to do our part for mother earth.”

DID YOU KNOW

Traditional liquid laundry detergents are usually packaged in high density polyethylene. 68% of traditional liquid laundry detergent bottles are not recycled and contribute to approximately 606 billion pounds of plastic that end up in our oceans annually. By using a biodegradable pod and zero plastic, the company aims to reduce plastic consumption by not encouraging any to begin with.

GUPPYFRIEND WASHING BAG

Every time you wash your fleece or synthetic clothing in a washing machine, millions of plastic microfibers from synthetic garments are released, making their way from washing machines into rivers and oceans.

The GuppyFriend™ is the first device designed and marketed specifically to prevent microfiber pollution. Created by Alexander Nolte and Oliver Spies (surfing friends and nature lovers), with the help of the outdoor clothing brand, Patagonia, the bag is made of nylon with a 50-micron mesh that allows soapy water to enter the bag while keeping small fibers inside. When the wash is done, the fibers can be removed and put in the trash. The bag captures up to 99% of the fibers shed by synthetic garments.

Patagonia is taking the problem of climate change very seriously. They have set a goal to be carbon neutral across their entire business including their supply chain by 2025.

“At Patagonia, we start with the knowledge that everything we produce comes at a cost to the environment. We then work continuously to lower the environmental and social costs of our products at every phase of their life cycle—from improving our manufacturing processes at every level of the supply chain to increasing our use of recycled and natural materials to encouraging reuse, repair and recycling among our customers.”

DID YOU KNOW

Microplastic can be found in tap water, beer and sea salt.

SNUGPAD WOOL DRYER BALLS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: SNUGPAD

A wonderful alternative to the single-sheet perfumed dryer sheets, these New Zealand wool balls work with the heat in your dryer to absorb moisture, save drying time, reduce wrinkles, lint, pet hair, and leave clothes without static.

Made of 100% pure New Zealand wool, they are certified cruelty free. Plus they are organic, chemical free, fragrance free, and hypoallergenic. They are reusable for up to four years and over a thousand loads.

 

DID YOU KNOW

Dryer sheets can contain harmful chemicals that adhere to clothes, vent into the air, and rub off on your skin. These chemicals can cause health problems because they can mimic estrogen and trigger asthma.