Laundry Pod Environmental Impact
Presented below are examples of academic and highly credible reports and articles on the environmental effect of laundry pods. Most of the reports uncovered focus on more than one type of detergent form, with few reports providing in-depth ecological impact information. The studies fall into three categories focusing on liquid detergents, powdered detergents, and single-use pods.
I. Articles/Studies About the Impact of Liquid Laundry Detergents
Effect of Detergents from Laundry Greywater on Soil Properties: a Preliminary Study
- The journal report titled "Effect of detergents from laundry greywater on soil properties: a preliminary study" examines the micro-pollutants in both liquid and powdered laundry wastewater detergents.
- According to the report, the discharge of laundry greywater causes adverse effects on soil properties. Both powdered and liquid laundry detergent wastewater reduced soil infiltration and increased its PH and Resonant Column (RC) values.
- The report concludes by suggesting the adoption of standards to set minimum concentration levels of compounds in laundry detergents. It also recommends the implementation of a new policy on the proper disposal of laundry wastewater.
Washing Laundry May Be an Underappreciated Source of Microplastic Pollution
- The findings from the report dubbed, "Washing Laundry May Be An Underappreciated Source of Microplastic Pollution," provides an in-depth analysis of the types of microplastics responsible for microplastic pollution.
- Microbeads found in laundry detergents have a significant environmental impact than microfibers, which shed faster as they interact with different types of fabrics during washing. Moreover, using laundry detergents versus pure water produces up to 86% microfibers, which also make up 35% of plastic waste.
- The study concludes that fashion brands should consider environmentally friendly fabric in their production process. Also, there are products consumers can buy to filter microbes out of washing machines. Lastly, the report urges industries to switch microbeads for other environmentally friendly options.
- The report titled "Laundry Detergents" provides a detailed examination of the environmental impact of both liquid and powdered laundry detergents, including the compounds in each detergent. It analyses 40 different washing powdered and liquid detergent brands.
- Enzymes and surfactants found in laundry detergents are biodegradable and cause no environmental harm. New cleaning products do not use phosphates or use them in negligible amounts because they pollute fresh waters with algal blooms that affect fish.
- The report found out that liquid detergents perform better over many environmental indicators because of limited chemical use per wash. Liquids also perform better than powdered detergents across many environmental indicators, including acidification, climate change, human poisoning, photochemical smog, and ozone depletion.
Environmental Considerations with Laundry Detergent
- The article titled, "Environmental Considerations with Laundry Detergent" unravels the impact of the toxicities of the chemical ingredients of laundry detergents on the environment, along with their carbon cost of production.
- The Wall Street Journal notes that the carbon footprint of using the United Kingdom's Tesco detergent ranges from 1.3 pounds to 1.9 pounds per load based on the form of detergent used. In comparison, a car emits about one pound of CO2 for every mile covered.
- The major environmental concerns regarding the use of detergents include toxicity to aquatic life, eutrophication of freshwater, health issues such as cancer, and persistence in the environment.
II. Articles/Studies About the Impact of Powdered Laundry Detergents
The Contribution of the Type of Detergent to Domestic Laundry Greywater Composition and Its Effect on Treatment Performance
- This report explores how both liquid and powdered detergents contribute to the composition of domestic laundry wastewater. It states that overdosing on either liquid or powdered detergents during washing and discharging the untreated water into the environment causes adverse effects on aquatic organisms.
- According to the report, powdered detergents produce more polluted greywater compared to liquid detergents. Moreover, untreated laundry greywater leads to massive contamination of water bodies.
- The study further notes that powdered detergents contribute to a higher concentration of Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonates (LAS’s) and more total solids, and less chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total organic carbon (TOC).
The Impact of the Use of Detergents in the Life
- Published by Green Kulture, "The Impact of the Use of Detergents in The Life" report features the environmental impact of both liquid and powdered detergents. Detergent-forming surfactants and builders affect both humans and the environment.
- Highly concentrated and untreated powdered detergent wastewater endangers the lives of "human biota, water, and biota that consume them."
- Harmful compounds such as benzopyrene found on detergent waste can disrupt the environment by affecting drinking water, its odor, and taste. Such compounds are also carcinogenic.
The impact of Detergents on The environment
- "The impact of Detergents on the Environment" is a detailed article published by Smart Green Post and explores the harmful effects of powdered and other detergents on the environment. The report features information on the test results of 26 powdered detergents.
- According to the article, most of the 26 powdered detergents studied have synthetic polymers and plastic chemicals that are water-soluble but poorly degradable.
- Moreover, purification plants cannot filter these harmful compounds; therefore, they end up in the fields and sea. Again, 22 of the powdered detergents contained optical brighteners that are harmful to the environment because they are difficult to eliminate.
- Published by Detergents and Soaps, the report titled "Environmental Implications" details the harmful effects of soaps and detergents, including powdered detergents.
- For instance, the manufacture of detergents causes environmental challenges such as dust control and volatile organic emissions., which are critical environmental concerns in the manufacturing of soaps and detergents.
- Overall, the report focuses on the high levels of dust present during the production and transportation of bulky powdered detergents.
III. Articles/Studies About the Impact of Single-Use Pods
Detergent Pods are Handy, but Can I Use Them with a Clean Conscience?
- The article dubbed, "Detergent Pods are Handy, but Can I Use Them With a Clean Conscience?" explores multiple questions revolving around the sustainability of detergent pods.
- According to the article, these single-use pods are made from a water-soluble synthetic polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) film. The polymer once dissolved breaks down into an aqueous solution, which is treated with microbes at treatment plants to break down into carbon dioxide and water.
- Additionally, the FDA considers the film non-toxic; therefore, it is accepted for use in dietary supplements and pharmaceutical products.
Translating our Science: About Water-Soluble Film
- "Translating our Science: About Water-Soluble Film" is an article published by MonoSol, a water-soluble film technology company that claims that its films are made of polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), which is safe and environmentally friendly.
- PVOH is biodegradable, colorless, non-toxic, and odorless. It dissolves in water completely and is then broken down by bacterial micro-organisms.
- These films impact the environment positively as they provide an environmentally clean solution for packaging detergents, promote safer handling and dosing, and above all, they do not persist in the environment to contaminate the recycling stream or increase micro-plastic pollution.
Daily Footprint, #27 — Laundry Detergent, Part 1: Revenge of the Pods
- The report titled "Daily Footprint, #27 — Laundry Detergent, Part 1: Revenge of the Pods" seeks to unravel the true environmental impact of single-use pods.
- According to the analysis, detergent pod coatings are made of water-soluble PVOH, which is generally considered safe. However, PVA (polymer polyvinyl alcohol) is highly flammable, harmful if inhaled, causes lasting adverse effects on aquatic organisms, and can cause cancer and respiratory problems.
- While the single-use pods are prone to ingestion by unsuspecting kids, the carbon footprint associated with the changes to the design of the product led to a significant environmental impact.
Polymers Used in U.S. Household Cleaning Products: Assessment of Data Availability for Ecological Risk Assessment
- This journal report primarily focuses on identifying, characterizing, and assessing the ecological risk of polymers-based household cleaning detergents currently in use in the U.S.
- The findings indicate that the different compounds used in single-use pods minimally impact aquatic life. For instance, they can cause chronic fish ecotoxicity and acute ecotoxicity to algal, fish, and invertebrate.
- Overall, the study concluded that the polymers used in household cleaning products pose little danger to the environment, based on an examination of the conventional polymers found in single-use detergent pods.
Extensive searches through electronic literature and databases, academic libraries, science and research websites, medical organization reports, consumer reports, household laundry manufacturer's reports, and articles and reports published by credible sources presented a wealth of information on the environmental impact of household detergents. It turned out that most reports we checked focused on both detergents, i.e., liquid and powdered, as opposed to one form of detergent. In this regard, the majority of the reports contained information on both the effects of liquid and powdered detergents. We also had to examine reports that focus on the overall environmental impact of detergents to handpick the negative impact that stems from powdered, liquid, or single-use pods. Academic reports on the same appear to come from many years ago; therefore, we chose to stick with reports published in recent times, since they feature the latest information, which is relevant to today's cleaning products.
For single-use pods, we found out that since the topic resonates with recent developments in the industry, its information is readily available and well documented. Thus, we had no issues finding details specific to single-use pods. Information on powdered and liquid detergents appeared scattered throughout articles talking about the environmental impact of detergents. That could be because the environmental impact of either liquid or powdered detergents appear the same since both detergent forms contain similar chemical compounds. Overall, the three categories above feature four credible articles with details on the environmental impact of household cleaning liquids, powders, and single-use pods.