It's been years now since I started using alternative laundry detergents. I first switched to using alternative detergents when I learned about the environmental impact of the phosphates contained in many common brand name detergents. If you need a refresher: these phosphates from your detergent leave with your wash’s wastewater, and can flow into natural freshwater systems at unnatural levels. High levels of phosphates in oceans, rivers, and lakes leads to uncontrolled algae growth. As this algae dies off and begins to rot, the decomposition process sucks up all available oxygen found in the water (called eutrophication), which then goes on to cause the death of fish and other plants. This is a good enough reason for me to switch detergents, not only out of concern for the immediate environment, but also out of concern for the negative impact that such pollutants have on our own food safety. Plus, the list of chemical ingredients on the back of a laundry detergent bottle is long. What are all of those? Are all those chemicals truly necessary to wash my clothes well?
I started my quest into natural detergents by first trying out the Seventh Generation laundry detergent line about 7 or 8 years ago and was satisfied with the wash, but remained unsatisfied with the list of ingredients. Do my clothes really need ingredients such as laureth-6, sodium lauryl sulfate, or methylisothiazolinone to get clean? I had many doubts. What was the environmental impact of these chemicals after they'd left my washer, and furthermore what was the impact of even manufacturing all these chemicals? I didn't know, but I also wasn't optimistic. Seventh Generation’s detergent got the job done, but it still wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.
eat yer veggies
We’re two Registered Dietitian Nutritionists of kindred spirit, living and working in New York City. We believe that healthy eating and sustainability go hand-in-hand — every bite you take has the power to improve both the world and your health!