Consumers suggest eco-friendly laundry options as they realize pod-based detergents are harmful to the environment.
As consumers, we like to be aware of what products we use and what they contain. With the rising global warming, people attempt to be sustainable and opt for eco-friendly options. A post shared by u/Loner_Gemini9201 on the subreddit r/Anticonsumption brought to light the harmful nature of popular laundry products. After the Reddit user expressed frustration over the plastics in pods, other users on the platform enlightened them about various eco-friendly alternatives.
The post claims they were "scammed with pod detergents." The concerning complaint read, "I just realized that Tide Pods, Gain Flings, etc. are bad for the environment (genuinely did not know they released microplastics till now). I'm using the ones I have up and then switching back to liquid detergent. But I also discovered that they are a waste of money!!! At Target, you can get the Original 92 oz. [of] liquid detergent (64 loads) or the Original Tide Pods (42 loads) for the same cost of $12.99."
Clothing and detergent pods shed microplastics in the wash, making laundry a significant source of plastic pollution. You can help by using eco-friendly detergent tablets, washing clothes in cold water, installing filters in your washing machine, and using wool dryer balls! pic.twitter.com/nKEmcXTZT9— I4ES (@Inst4EnvSoln) August 27, 2021
They added: "Additionally, the number of loads seems inflated, as it equals 2.875 tablespoons per load when converted from ounces. You only need ~2 tablespoons of detergent for the biggest loads since Tide and similar detergents are super concentrated. If you use 2 tablespoons per load you will have 92 loads' worth of detergent. (2 tablespoons = 1 oz.)"
"You are duped into paying for less product that also has even bulkier plastic packaging. Additionally, young kids might think they're edible, so they're also a danger to human health in that regard. Let's all stop buying pod-based detergents if we haven't already!" they conclude.
According to a literature review by researchers with Arizona State University and the California nonprofit Plastic Oceans International, detergent pods leak large amounts of untreated PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) into groundwater resources and water systems, potentially contaminating the human food chain. While PVA can be completely biodegradable, they must meet certain conditions. Wastewater treatment plants in the United States are typically designed to treat human waste and other biological matter, not PVA, and do not provide optimal conditions for biodegradation.
A debate is raging over whether the plastic film that surrounds detergent pods truly breaks down in water. If the plastic does not desolve 100%, this could lead to microplastics entering our waterways.— Travelers Against Plastic (@TAPcampaign) December 17, 2022
Read the debate here: https://t.co/CWE5DARYI6
Photo: Tyler Lizenby/CNET
"The time it takes for larger plastic items (macroplastics) to break down into microplastics (less than 5 mm) is fairly extensive. The moment these pods are subjected to water, they solubilize into a plastic solution. This plastic solution can easily pass through conventional water treatment and into ecosystems beyond. For those main reasons, pollution from these detergent pods is cause for concern," explained Charles Rolsky, Ph.D. and co-author of the study.
Fear not, as Reddit users had plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to suggest. "Consider skipping the liquid step and going straight to powdered detergent. It's the same thing, just without added water, and you can get it in cardboard boxes instead of those big plastic jugs," suggested u/Flack_Bag. "Wool dryer balls. And use vinegar water for cleaning. White vinegar is also good for rinse cycle on your laundry, especially if you have sensitive skin. Just put it where you would put fabric softener," advised u/RoughKiwi5405.
"I use them (detergent sheets) and love them! It's also super easy to hand wash things with them, I just pull off a small piece and use that," shared u/ledger_man. "It's easy to make your own detergent: 1/3 soap flakes made from any bar of soap, 1/3 borax, 1/3 washing soda. Use 2 Tablespoons. It's all cardboard/paper packaging," added u/SweetAlyssumm.