While grocery shopping yesterday (which happened to be April 2nd — the second day of Earth Month), I happened to stumble upon a bottle of Seventh Generation’s Free & Clear Natural 4X Laundry Detergent, something I’d never heard of before:
“Free & Clear” simply means the detergent is unscented and contains no dyes. The container holds 50 fluid ounces (1.4L) and is advertised as good for up to 66 medium sized loads. I was particularly intrigued by the packaging itself, which consists of a compost-able paper product “bottle”…
…as well as labeling indicating that its cleaning agents and other ingredients are largely (though perhaps not completely) plant-based. I was also particularly drawn to the Iroquois Nation quote on the back about the need to consider how today’s actions will impact the next seven generations, which is where the company draws its name from, and which adequately expresses much of my own worldview:
Finally, the detergent itself is stored in a plastic bladder, which is the only component of the container that actually requires recycling. Seventh Generation claims the bladder and cap constitute 66% less plastic than a typical 100 ounce 2X laundry bottle, while being good for the same number of loads:
I was so impressed, I purchased a second bottle of detergent, this one with a scent called “Geranium Blossoms and Vanilla”, which they claim is derived from “whole essential oils.” It really does smell quite nice, without being excessively perfumey. And today, I did a single large load of laundry with the Free & Clear detergent. All I can say is, so far, so good. It got all my clothes nicely clean, just as expected.
Earth Day 2012
While April is Earth Month, April 22nd is Earth Day 2012, and I’d like to encourage all of you to do whatever you can to get involved and help ensure a greener and more sustainable world for those next seven generations. If you’re looking for ideas, one possible place to start that I hope you’ll find useful is the Building Moxie article “Earth Day 2011: Three Simple Acts That Can Make A Difference“, which I’d published last year for Earth Day 2011.
As for me, I’ve made a major commitment for Earth Day 2012, which is to start doing laundry outdoors, all throughout the summer and into the fall. This includes (yes, you guessed it) a wash tub and board, hand washer, wringer, and a 75′ detachable drying line (but no, I won’t be building a fire to heat the water, nor making lye soap). I fully realize most of you find this crazy, but consider that it requires no electricity, allows one to control and minimize how much water is actually heated and used, and also closely manage how the greywater is finally dispatched. I’m hoping the Seventh Generation detergent nicely complements these measures, and results in a much “lighter” greywater than what more conventional detergents would yield.
Since publishing this post, I’ve authored Earth Day 2012: Mobilizing for Water Conservation, an invited article for Building Moxie in honor of Earth Day 2012. That article further elaborated many of the concepts initially suggested here.