Why concentrated detergent helps

I’ve been sooo busy, so just a couple of quickie posts this week.

This one was also found in Redbook in January — an article that was surely based on a public relations effort by Procter & Gamble, about why smaller bottles of laundry detergent are a good thing.

PR notwithstanding, the statistics are amazing. By late spring, Procter & Gamble (maker of Tide, Cheer, Dreft, Era and Gain) will eliminate large detergent bottles and switch completely to concentrated versions of its detergents.

The results of the switch, purely from the perspective of the bottles’ environmental impact, will be huge:

  • 35% less water.
  • 43% less plastic (equivalent to about 2 billion plastic shopping bags each year).
  • Total packaging reduction equivalent to the municipal solid waste of 40,000 people per year (about 32,000 tons, according to Redbook’s garbage data).
  • Greenhouse-gas reduction equal to the annual emissions of 40,000 cars (that’s as if 16,000 households gave up their average 2.5 cars).

Of course, it’s also a good idea to pay attention to what’s inside the detergent bottle — making sure it has as few chemicals, brighteners, whiteners and especially phosphates as possible. But for the United States and the environment as a whole, smaller bottles are at least one helpful step.


7 thoughts on “Why concentrated detergent helps

  1. Megan says:

    Have you considered making your own laundry detergent? Its much cheaper, only takes about 30 minutes or less every few months to make, and you can reuse your laundry detergent bottles over and over. If you are interested, just google ‘homemade laundry detergent”. There are recipes all over the net which consist of Washing soda, borax soap, and Fels Naptha bar soap. All of which can be found in at least one grocery chain in my part of the country.

  2. Cheap Like Me says:

    Yes, great point and one I should have mentioned! I did a “Dealbusters” on homemade laundry soap back in September.

    I wanted to post this article more as a “where the wind is blowing” trend — it’s great news that some of the big mainstream companies are starting to care.

    Personally, I bought some laundry detergent recently (I’ve been too busy to make it!) and chose Arm & Hammer because it came in a cardboard box — easier to recycle. But it doesn’t work especially well in my front-loading washer with cold water. 😦

  3. Amber says:

    Wow, I just found this blog and it is great! Just a little FYI that the big soap companies do not tell you, use the very minimal amount of your favorite soap, it works just as well, will save you money and leave your clothes less wrinkled! The soap residue is what wrinkles the clothes the most. Add some baking soap as a brightener, and vinegar in the rinse/ fabric softener cycle. Vinegar neutralizes the soap residue. My boyfriend owns a laundry service oversees and told me about this.

  4. Carrie says:

    Thanks for the info.
    Every time I am in need of laundry detergent anymore I end up buying the smaller bottles of “concentrated” detergent but with out really knowing why. I guess it’s because they are so in my face. So I googled “why buy concentrated detergent?” and found your site. I like the tips others had to share too. I like feeling like I’m a little “green”.

  5. Rob says:

    It is all about marketing perception

    How about an advertising campaign announcing the truth that ‘Tide’ is now less watered down?

    This green nonsense is simply creative marketing to sell the reality that higher transportation costs required better packaging

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