A common thing people wonder is what makes laundry sheets more eco-friendly than any run-of-the-mil liquid laundry detergent? There are a few factors to consider, so let’s jump in!
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Look at the back of your laundry detergent liquid jug. What is the first ingredient? I did some quick research of some popular brands and their first ingredients are:
Seventh Generation: water
Arm & Hammer: water
I think you get the idea. Even if the number one ingredient isn’t water, it’s probably close to the top of the list. Ingredient lists are in order meaning water is the #1 ingredient used. Non-concentrated laundry detergent is estimated to be 60-90% water. You are paying $10-20 a jug for water.
That is where laundry sheets come in. Yes, you can get liquid or powder concentrates, too, but today we are focused on laundry sheets. They contain NO water meaning you are paying for the cleaning agents only. And that takes us to point two, the lower weight of this product.
Since traditional liquid detergent is up to 90% water, that makes them quite heavy. For 1 gallon of detergent, it’s approximately 128 fl oz which equates to 8-9 lbs. That isn’t factoring in the packaging weight, either. A pack of laundry sheets equal to 64 loads weighs XXXX. This makes it significantly lighter and means the transportation used to ship them aren’t as weighed down and won’t burn as much fuel.
Similarly is their size when it comes to shipping. Compare this small box of laundry sheets to a gallon jug of liquid detergent and you can fit probably 10 of these boxes in the spot of one jug. Let’s just say only 100 jugs fit inside a semi trailer (I know, it’s very likely to be much more, but this is just an example) and that 10 laundry sheet boxes take up the same amount of space as one jug. That means that for every 100 jugs that are shipped, you could instead ship 1000 laundry detergent sheet boxes! By being able to ship more product for less space, this means fewer trucks on the road transporting the same amount (or more) of product.
We all know that laundry detergent liquid comes in a plastic jug. Yes, this is recyclable, but recyclable does not necessarily mean good for the environment. Did you know plastic is made from oil? That means that oil has to be extracted, turned into plastic pellets, melted down to be created into jugs all before being filled and sent to your local Walmart or Target. The creation of plastic is just as harmful to the environment as is it’s end of life. And this is all banking on the fact that plastic CAN be recycled. This does not mean it WILL be recycled.
This is why opting for a paper box of laundry powder or laundry sheets is optimal. In 2018, the EPA estimated that about 8.6% of plastic created was recycled in the US. Meanwhile, they estimated that in 2018, about 68.2% of all paper created was recycled. That is a significant jump from plastic. So, opting for plastic increases the likelihood that it is recycled as well as it can be composted if your city (or you do it yourself) does that.
Sure, paper creation isn’t the best practice either of cutting down trees, so opt for recycled paper when possible. But regardless, it is a step in the right direction compared to plastic.
Other environmental and ethical considerations when shopping are the ingredients of the products you buy and use. Some key aspects to note about Tru Earth are: they are paraben-free, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, vegan/cruelty free, bleach-free, and dye-free. Most laundry detergents you buy in the store can be harmful to pets, babies, and those with sensitive skin while Tru Earth is safe. They also have a fragrance free option.
Many ingredients used in standard laundry detergent are environmentally intensive to create as well as to dispose of. They have the potential to leach into our groundwater and would not be good to consume. It can also leach into rivers and other water sources which could harm animals and even plants that we also consume and that the animals consume.
But what’s the cost comparison?
Many people think that zero waste swaps are or have to be expensive. It’s true, some are expensive, but let’s break it down by load to see how Tru Earth compares to leading brands of laundry detergent.
Seventh Generation: $19.97 for 99 loads = $0.21 per load
Tide liquid detergent: $12.97 for 64 loads = $0.21 per load
Tide pods: $19.94 for 48 loads = $0.42 per load
Gain flings: $21.44 for 96 loads = $0.22 per load
Now here are a few breakdowns of some Tru Earth products:
32 pack without the subscription: $19.95 for 32 loads = $0.62 per load
32 pack with the subscription service: $12.95 for 32 loads = $0.40 per load
384 pack: $149 for 384 loads = $0.38 per load
It really depends on the detergent choice. Just like your choices at Walmart or Target can be more or less expensive, so are your choices of detergent sheets. Something else to note is that this is equating for FULL loads. So, if you have a smaller load, you can rip the sheet in half and get twice the washes for the cost!
Some other perks to laundry sheets
Less storage space, ideal for tiny homes, apartments, and other small spaces
Biodegradable means you can take them camping and safely use them outside
What else do you want to know?
I’ve been using laundry sheets for YEARS and loved all the brands I’ve tried. Do you still have questions about laundry sheets? Let me know below and I’d love to make a follow up to answer your questions.
Don’t forget to shop Tru Earth with the link here (it is affiliated) if you are in the market for an eco detergent!
Thanks for reading, and as always, remember that your small actions have a big impact in the long run :)