For many years, green advocates have been pushing for green movements, and it has been rather successful thus far. People these days have a better concept of the effects that human activities does to the environment. Green lifestyle is now supported by many, and this trend is especially prominent in America and Europe. As a country becomes more developed, the people's living standards go up and they become more demanding in the value offered by a specific product.
"As societies reach a mature state of development, the people start to look at values' beyond the product's physical dimension, whether the detergent is environmentally friendly, biodegradable (or energy efficient)"
Source: The Business Times
Laws and policies have been introduced by many developed states to help improve the green lifestyle. Phosphorous, a chemical that was previously widely used in detergents, is linked to eutrophication - promoting algae growth that pollutes the water body.
In the U.S, there are already 17 states that prohibits the use of phosphorous-containing detergents for dishwashers; after phosphorous-containing hand washing liquid and laundry detergent were banned in the 1970s. However, phosphorous-containing detergents are still used in other parts of the world in which the society values the cleaning power of a detergent over green properties. (Phosphorous-containing detergents do have a better performance as compared to other green formulations.)
In Europe, the Detergent Regulation in 2005 mandates that surfactants used in detergents are to be fully biodegradable and products need to be properly labelled with regards to its ingredients and respective dosage information. Inorganic phosphates are also being banned from domestic laundry and dishwasher detergents. In order to reinforce the green products movement, Government bodies came up with labels for certified products to help consumers recognise the green products.
In response to the market's inclination towards green products, manufacturers have made improvements to the detergent manufacturing process.
1. Detergents are now launched in highly concentrated versions. This helps to reduce the tremendous amount of water wasted in diluting the detergents at plants, packaging required, and the fuel consumed in the transportation process - since less volume of detergents are now being transported. This change is welcomed by many homemakers as they no longer need to lug big and heavy detergent bottles around.
Detergent Capsules containing concentrated liquid detergent
2. Refillables are popular as it allows the reuse of a primary bottle. This prevents excessive waste and more importantly, refills are more friendly to the consumer's pocket as they save on the cost for the unnecessary plastic bottle.
3. Detergent formulation has been improving; not just to increase the cleaning property of the detergent, but also to design in for working well in cold water. On average, 80 - 85% of energy consumed for a full laundry load goes into heating up the water. Savings on energy consumption translates to savings for consumer's electrical bills.
4. Positive changes to the detergent manufacturing process has been made in plants to improve the overall branding of a company. For instance, the plant of detergent brand "Method" in Chicago is partly powered by their own wind turbine and solar panels. In addition, they promote natural lighting in their daily operations.
Unlike a decade ago, technological advancements have allowed green products to be manufactured at a more reasonable price and with improved cleaning power. Who knows, perhaps future developments can bring a breakthrough in the detergent industry, providing a totally eco-friendly product.
For details on raw chemicals for detergent manufacturing, visit our detergent website.