Dilemma: When The Eco Alternatives Just Don't Work

Dilemma: When The Eco Alternatives Just Don't Work

Cambria Bold
Sep 20, 2010

Detergents are getting a makeover, and many people don't like it. Responding to new laws that went into effect in 17 states in July, many of the nation's major detergent makers have reformulated their products to reduce the level of phosphates present. (Phosphates, which help prevent dishes from spotting in the wash cycle, are also a major cause of pollution in lakes and reservoirs.)

The Household Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law, which went into effect July 1st, means that many dishwasher detergents have seen their phosphate levels from as high as 8.7% to 0.5%. But consumers aren't happy about it, saying that a) the detergents don't clean as well, and b) they end up having to use more water anyway to clean the dishes a second time or rinse them off. So the question for some is: what's the tradeoff, and is it worth it?

The New York Times says:

Yet now, with the content reduced, many consumers are finding the new formulas as appealing as low-flow showers, underscoring the tradeoffs that people often face today in a more environmentally conscious marketplace. From hybrid cars to solar panels, environmentally friendly alternatives can cost more. They can be less convenient, like toting cloth sacks or canteens rather than plastic bags or bottled water. And they can prove less effective, like some of the new cleaning products.

Read the full article here and then come back and tell us what you think. What has your experience been with eco-friendly cleaning alternatives? Have you found a brand that works as well or better as the conventional stuff? Or do you simply accept that they won't work as well, but the environmental aspect makes it worth your inconvenience? Tell us below!

Image: Richard Perry for The New York Times

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