It just so happened that the plastic awareness challenge coincided with me running out of dish washing machine tablets/powder for the first time. Since I've been using up the products I already had before being aware of the harm they were doing, my plan is to switch to eco-friendly products (meaning what I deem to be eco-friendly, not just because it says so on the box) gradually, as I run out.
Yesterday I headed over to the local "green" store, called Ruohonjuuri, in search of something to clean the full dishwasher that was waiting for me at home. I expected, however naively, to find the perfect product there... that wasn't the case. But I did instantly want to blog about the experience because I think it reflects many choices we have to make in our everyday lives when it comes to making greener choices.
This is what I found...
(By the way, I don't know everything about toxins in these types of products but my rule was: if they don't hurt the wildlife, that's usually a good sign AND I kept an eye out for packaging because that's a big concern for me. Also, I didn't have ALL the info you see below but I got it off the company websites for you :) !)
Product #1 - Ecover
Quantity: 25 tablets
Country of origin: Belgium
+ Cardboard box, made of 95% recycled materials
+ plant based ingredients, not based on petrochemical ingredients
+ no chemical residue left on your dishes
+ GMO enzyme free
+ no artificial fragrance
+ no phosphates nor chlorine bleach
+ optimum level of biodegradability - far exceeds legislative requirements
+ safe for all river and marine life
+ no animal testing
+ safe for septic tanks
- Each tablet is individually wrapped in plastic (it's recyclable but you can't recycle plastic in Finland... actually I should look into this...)
Product #2 - Attitude
Quantity: 26 and 40 tablets
Price: around 12,30€ and 16,38€ (Though only $8 and $11 in Canada!)
Country of origin: Canada (to be more specific, Quebec)
+ individual sachets dissolve
+ Certified EcoLogo, an Environment Canada program
+ CO2 neutral: no contribution to climate change
+ Vegetable-based / Natural / Biodegradable
+ Free of phosphate and chlorine
+ Free of color dyes and artificial fragrances
+ Pure essential oils
+ Non-carcinogenic (selected ingredients not listed on the IARC Categories 1, 2A or 2B)
+ Vegan product
- The 26 pack comes in a thick plastic bag (to protect from moisture)
- The 40 pack came in a hard plastic box
Product #3 - Alma Win
Quantity: 25 tablets
Price: around 11€ (I don't remember!)
Country of origin: Germany
+ Comes in a cardboard box
+ FREE from phosphate, chlorine and GMO
+ Excellent water softening properties
+ Sodium citrate prevents lime deposits on dishes
+ Biodegradable, natural occurring poly aspartic acid aids even dispersion
+ Environmentally-compatible mild oxygen based bleaching agents improve degradation
+ Fragranced with certified organic essential lemon oil
+ Naturally and effectively remove persistent food particles, starch and protein with proteases, not enzymes
+ Suitable for vegans
+ Not tested on animals
- Individually plastic wrapped tablets
- More expensive than Ecover (which is packaged the same)
I may have to shop around, so I picked Ecover (the cheaper and less-plastic-y of the bunch). In case it doesn't clean my dishes and work my way up (price-wise), I figured it was smarter to start with the cheaper option.
Ironically, I went to a bigger grocery store after and found the same Ecover box for only €6.50. I know stores like Prisma definitely benefit from economies of scale and most of their products are not sustainable but 2.70€/box is a pretty hefty price increase. I went back to Ruohonjuuri today and apologized to the super nice sales person. They still have products you can't find elsewhere though and I plan to support them that way.
Again more irony, I realized I could've tried making the dishwashing powder myself, but I'll have to give that a try later (and post about some dishwashing- vs. dishwasher-related debates). Baby steps.
Do you have any products you'd like to recommend? Have you tried making your own dishwashing powder? Feel free to post about your experiences!