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Environmental comparison of different types of dish washing detergents

Environmental comparison of different types of dish washing detergents

how sustainable is…

This study investigates the environmental impact of five detergent types by Procter & Gamble (regular powder, compact powder, powder tablets, compact liquid, and liquid unit dose systems or sachets). The study covers the product life cycle, from detergent manufacture to detergent use.

According to the study, regardless of which detergent is used, the wash temperature of the dishwasher has the biggest environmental impact. This is because of the emissions associated with the electricity generation (the report does not detail how the electricity is generated, if it is generated by burning a fossil fuel such as coal or by burning a renewable fuel such as biomass – presumably it is assuming the electricity mix available from the UK grid as this is where the study was undertaken).

The study suggests that both “compact powder” and “compact liquid” use less detergent per wash than the other 3 forms of detergents and require less packaging. Because they release a lower number of chemicals into the environment, they perform better environmentally overall.

Link to full report

While we make every effort to be accurate, we do not claim that this summary is representative. Please refer to our Legal Disclaimer for details.

what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint…

The study suggests that concentrated dish washing detergents are better for the environment than others. Thus, to minimise the impact of washing your dishes in a dishwasher, look for a concentrated detergent. While the study does not address this directly, we also suggest that you can reduce your impact on the environment (and your wallet) if you make sure the dishwasher is full before you turn it on and if there are different temperature and duration settings, you could experiment with these settings to enable you to reduce these to lower temperature and shorter wash cycles if possible.

Report Rating: 1 out of 3

Report Published: 23 October 2003

Country: United Kingdom

Author(s): Erwan Saouter

Publisher: Procter & Gamble

Funder: not stated, assumed to be Procter & Gamble

Keywords: life cycle analysis, LCA, cradle to grave analysis, environmental footprint, detergent, washing machine, washing powder

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