How I Made My Laundry Waste-Free
Going green means making lifestyle changes.
It also means assessing things you think you’re doing right, like the laundry.
At first glance, my laundry habits seem like they fall into the ‘doing right ’ category. I use eco-friendly brands like Seventh Generation. I avoid the dryer. And I always wash my clothes using cold water during low-energy use times like late at night. But every time I have to recycle a detergent bottle or throw a dryer sheet in with my blankets, I get the feeling that I could be doing better; producing less waste and using less energy.
So I decided I actually did have some lifestyle changes to make.
To help you get on your way toward making similar changes, I’ve documented the steps I took to make my laundry waste-free.
First, I took stock of the cleaning products I use:
- Liquid detergent
- Liquid bleach
- Liquid fabric softener
- Dryer sheets (for when I actually do need to run the dryer)
Second, I identified my problem areas:
#1 - I’ve been using liquid cleaners.
I found that my most obvious mistake was the fact that I’ve been using cleaners that come in liquid form. And by ‘liquid cleaners’ I mean bottled products.
Now, for those of you who go above and beyond, you may say my obvious mistake is that I’m using any single-use cleaning product since there are affordable detergent free washer balls on the market. Well, I’ve tried these, and they just don’t cut it.
So let’s get back to what I consider to be my biggest mistake: using bottled cleaners. Seeing that these cleaners are quite popular, I’ll wager that you’ve got a bottle of detergent or fabric softener sitting on a shelf above your washing machine. If there’s an ingredient label on that bottle, you’ll find that the main component of that cleaner is water. Now, if you compare these bottled products to pod-based products (from eco-friendly brands of course), you’ll find that the bottled products are unnecessarily wasteful. Without doing any math, it’s quite straightforward to deduce that pod-based cleaners require less packaging and space. And when I say space, I mean literal space. This may seem silly to you, but a lesser volume (and weight) means that pod-based products require less energy to ship than bottled products. This also means that when it comes to transportation, pod-based cleaners have a smaller associated carbon footprint.
#2 - I’ve been using Dryer sheets.
I found that my other issue is that I’ve been using dryer sheets. Well, really there are two big problems with my use of dryer sheets. To start, they’re single-use, and not something that I can throw in my compost bin after they’ve been used. But more importantly, this is the one product I’ve been using up - meaning I haven’t bought the eco-friendly version that’s made by Seventh Generation and 97% plant-based. Instead, I’ve been using dryer sheets manufactured by what is considered to be a “leading brand.” And unfortunately, A University of Washington study found that “leading brand” dryer sheets, at least in combination with the use of “leading brand detergent,” emit volatile organic compounds; two of which are classified as carcinogens by the EPA.
Third, I sourced alternative products.
Of course, I could have just bought the pod-based versions of the liquid cleaners I use through Seventh Generation, but I recently discovered Dropps, a company that’s going above and beyond to eliminate waste and unnecessary chemicals from cleaning products.
Replacing liquid cleaners with pod-based alternatives.
Dropps offers every cleaner I was looking to replace, completely plastic-free. Check out the products I’m now using in place of the liquid cleaners I used to use:
These cleaning products are plant-based, which means that they are free of artificial dyes, synthetic fragrances, and chlorine. And the pod itself is made of polyvinyl alcohol - a film that is fully biodegradable in one month. Further, all Dropps products come in compostable cardboard boxes. The only thing you’ll actually have to throw away is the label on the packaging. So I guess my laundry isn’t technically zero-waste . . . but it’s literally as close as I can get.
Eliminating the use of dryer sheets.
In addition to offering cleaners, Dropps also offers wool dryer balls as a natural alternative to dryer sheets.
Not only is this alternative natural, but it’s quite economical. Wool dryer balls can be reused what seems like an endless number of times. They’ve also been shown to cut down on drying time, saving you on your energy bill. And when they’ve reached the end of their life cycle, they can be composted. A true no-brainer if you’re in a pinch and need to use the dryer.
NOW? I enjoy the benefits of waste-free laundry.
Hopefully, you will too!
the monetary benefits of using dropps:
- Subscription services save you 20% off your order (and yes, this service is customizable)
- Use my referral code to receive $10 off your first subscription order and we’ll both save:
Not to mention that Dropps runs great specials. During Labor Day weekend, I was able to claim 30% off my order.