Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 129 - Virtually Spot-Free

Changing My Dishwashing Detergent

I have already switched all of my cleaning supplies and my fabric softener from chemical-laden concoctions to more earth-friendly solutions. And I have finally used up the last of my Cascade Complete Dishwasher Detergent. So now I will be replacing my mainstream Proctor & Gamble product with Tree-Hugging Seventh Generation Dishwasher Soap.

Now you may be thinking "Hey, Erin - aren't you worried that your fine china will no longer sparkle like diamonds?" My answer to that is "Last time I checked, Corelleware ain't china and if you're invited to my house for dinner, you should be much more concerned about the dog fur in your meatloaf than about the streaks on your glasses." Besides, it's better for the environment -and that takes precedence over a spot-free shine.

Just so's you know, Cascade Complete contains up to 0.5% phosphorous, in the form of phosphates. We all know phosphates are "bad", but I only recently bothered to find out why. Here, in a nutshell, is why phosphates should be avoided:

During water treatment, phosphates are often not removed properly, so the phosphates you put down the drain will likely end up back in our lakes, rivers and streams. Due to this constant addition of phosphates by humans (they are found in many detergents, as well as in manufacturing), the phosphor balance gets out of whack, which results in an increase in the growth of algae. This algae not only consumes lots of oxygen, but also prevents sunlight from penetrating the water, making it unlivable for many other organisms, like fish, tadpoles and other little swimmers.

But there's more than just the phosphate issue.

The perfumes contained within the Cascade detergent received a Proctor & Gamble Health Hazard Rating of "Moderate". You know it's bad when the manufacturer actually acknowledges an inherent risk in their own product with a threat level of 2 on a scale of 0-4. Now, call me crazy, but here's a thought: How's about leaving out the faux lemon-fresh scent and decreasing the health risk a tad? I think a lot of people would be willing to make that citrusy-scented sacrifice, don't you?

Unlike Cascade, the Seventh Generation detergent is 100% phosphate-free, poses no known health risks and is presumable safer for the environment. As an added bonus, they do not test on animals or use any animal ingredients. I'm not saying Cascade does, but they don't carry the "No Animal Testing" logo on their bottle, which makes ya wonder.

At a concentration level of 1 gram per tablespoon and I use approximately 2 tablespoons per load, I would be saving 2 grams of phosphates per load. I wash roughly six loads per week, or 312 loads per year. That's 624 grams of unnecessary phosphates I'm saving per year.

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

Can I just tell you, I love these "replacement" changes. They are so easy to make and they don't require oodles of brain power, which I like to conserve whenever possible. I am simply swapping out one damaging product for one with a lesser environmental impact. Easy peasy.

So far, every replacement product I've tried has been a success. The only complaint I've ever had, and continue to have, is that all of these replacement products are sequestered over in the health-nut area of Kroger, rather than placed on the main shelves with their competitors. Apparently, this grouping of "like with like" is a virtually impossible task.


heather t said...

Heh - I agree about Kroger's "health-nut" area. They even tuck the organic milk away in its own little cooler rather than dare let it sit with the regular milk.

Just found your blog from fake plastic fish and will keep reading!

Anonymous said...

Seventh Generation also makes a powder detergent for the dishwasher that comes in a cardboard box - more enviro friendly that the plastic jug.

Lady Di said...

I am just now finding your blog and reading backwards a bit. I just bought some Biokleen brand automatic dish powder at Krogers (in the crunchy nut section) that is also phosphate and chlorine free. I haven't used it yet- we still have a bit of generic regular to finish. I must admit, the cost took the wind out of my sails - a bit over $8 but it's concentrated and supposed to wash 64 loads. We'll see how it does. We live in Louisa Co. (but closer to Gum Springs almost up the road from ya) and have well and septic, and I realized the other day that the water we probably drink, is the same water that is filtered from our septic system. Course it all is eventually, ours is probably just more-so. We've been slowly trying to do better, both hubby and I. Anyway, it's nice to read someone local trying to do better. :)

BTW: How is the bread thing going? I make bread for hubby's lunches almost every week -some weeks when I have a migraine we end up buying a loaf. I've found a book from the library that I might have to buy: The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger

PS: I have a Blogger ID, but I usually blog on LJ (