This article is a review of Tru Earth Laundry detergent.
I am always looking for solutions to over-packaging which feels like an uphill battle these days, especially every time I enter a grocery store. The amount of packaging that has been appearing in the produce aisle alone makes me angry. There is the “we said/they said” argument about whether all the added packaging prevents produce spoilage or allows grocers to off-load spoilage to consumers. Other than hothouse cucumbers (which would go bad in three days without being wrapped in protective plastic), most of the produce packaging is their to provide grab and go convenience. Remember when you used to be able to choose your own bunch of grapes and oranges – including how many and which ones?
But, I digress. In the age of overpackaging, it’s nice to discover a product with the objective of being a minimalist.
I bought, purchased and paid for with my own money, Tru Earth laundry detergent to see if it would work just like other laundry detergents. It sounds a little ridiculous that I should be so cautious about a cleaning product, but I am. Change is hard, even if it’s something as insignificant as laundry detergent. And I really wanted this to work.
Tru Earth’s Appeal
Tru Earth has stripped all water out of the detergent and packages it in a small recyclable cardboard envelope that fits in your mailbox or through your mail slot. The envelope contains enough laundry sheets for 32 loads. The sheets are perforated and half is used for one full load.
According to the Tru Earth website, in North America 30 billion loads of laundry are done each year consuming (among other things) 1 billion plastic jugs, of which 70% end up in landfill.
And liquid detergent (and powder) is heavy
Anyone who’s ever had the honour of changing the company’s water cooler bottle knows how heavy water is. In fact 1 liter of water weighs 1 kg (or 2.2 pounds for the non-metric people out there). So, taking water out of detergent, results in two positive things:
- It’s lighter – a Tru Earth strip weighs 3g, 94% less than concentrated liquid detergent (which weighs 40g).
- It takes up less space. A LOT less space.
What does it being lighter and smaller mean?
Something that is smaller and lighter means that transporting uses significantly less gas than the much heavier liquid and powder detergents. In Tru Earth’s case, it’s 94% lighter than regular detergent. So,
If everyone switched to Tru Earth Eco-Strips, the annual eco-savings would be enormous:
Eliminate one billion plastic jugs (you read that right!), saving 700 million from going to landfills
Save truck fuel and CO2 equivalent to taking 27 million cars off the road for a day, or planting nine million treesvia the Tru Earth website
So, Tru Earth is made to minimize its effect on the environment.
But Does it Work?
Without having done a Consumer’s Report type test (white T-shirt with grape juice), this is an excellent laundry detergent. It works in cold water with front-loading machines and the strip completely dissolves during the cycle (once a significant problem with powdered detergent and one reason there was a switch to liquid). *
This one package of 32 loads takes up so much less space than my current brand (which is another eco-friendly liquid detergent). One strip is plenty for a full load. You probably aren’t supposed to do this (I don’t think it’s encouraged) but for small loads I wash without regular clothes (cleaning rags or gym clothes) I will use a half strip (a quarter of a sheet). I haven’t had a problem with it yet.
But is it really safe for the environment?
Tru Earth Ingredients and what it doesn’t have
You can read the full list of ingredients here. There are several ingredients it does not contain:
- Free of added dyes
- Free of chlorine bleach
- Free of 1,4-dioxane, as certified by independent laboratory tests
- Readily biodegradable in accordance with OECD 310D
- Hypoallergenic, certified by independent dermatologists
- Vegan: no animal-based ingredients or testing on animals by us or our ingredient suppliers
I’ll be honest – it ain’t cheap. I have to wonder if I would use it if I was still doing 7-11 loads of laundry per week. But the kids are out of the house for most of the year and we’re down to about 3-4 laundry loads per week.
The cost of my regular brand is about $0.06/load. The cost of a Tru Earth load is $1.60/load…. I’ve lost you, haven’t I? Is anybody still reading this, or have you all thrown in the towel? There is a 35% discount if you commit to a subscription of either monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. But in the grand scheme of my bills, this is a small one.
Would I buy it again?
Definitely! I love the convenience of the strip, the “fresh linen” scent (they have fragrance-free as well), and the lack of waste. Yes it’s expensive in comparison to regular brands, but those who can afford to be early adopters for new technologies eventually help drive the price down so everyone can afford it.
You can order it direct from Tru Earth, or you can find it at some stores around the country. Oh, and did I mention that it’s Canadian? Originally marketed under Dizolve, from Moncton, NB, it’s now licensed and sold by Tru Earth (Vancouver, BC).
Visit Tru Earth’s website to purchase or find a store that carries it near you.
Live in the UK? You might be interested in Splosh – a zero-waste cleaning system.
P.S. This is a non-sponsored post.
*In an earlier version I stated that the detergent created an abundance of suds in a front load washer despite it’s being classified as a high efficiency detergent. However, I have since learned that the laundry strip goes into the same drawer as your liquid detergent, whereas I’d been throwing it in on top of the clothes in the main drum. Once I started putting the detergent in the drawer, there have been no more issues with excess suds. It helps to read the instructions thoroughly!