Laundry detergent concentrate shift

Many products we buy are basically just water with a few chemicals thrown in – take for instance detergents of various types. The extra bulk means extra packaging and processing – the added weight means more oil used to transport the item; not to mention all that water that would be better used for other purposes.

Wal-mart sells an incredible 25% of all the liquid laundry detergent consumed in the USA and last week the company announced it would be stocking only concentrated detergent from May 2008. This isn’t just a warm and fuzzy green moment for the company; it’s good business also in that it will help free up valuable shelf space.

This move will have major ramifications throughout the liquid laundry detergent industry as suppliers change priorities in production processes to meet the demand of the major retailer. It could quite possibly be the trigger for the phasing out altogether of dilute detergents – not just in the USA, but in many other countries.

Wal-mart estimates their change to a concentrates-only policy will save 400 million gallons of water, 95 million pounds of plastic resin and 125 million pounds of cardboard.

Wal-mart isn’t a company that you’d usually see mentioned on Green Living Tips, but this seemingly minor change is incredibly positive in terms of lessening environmental impact and I really applaud them for it.

While Wal-mart does suffer somewhat of an image problem and they have a long, long, long way to go before they could be considered an “earth friendly company”, it’s been really encouraging to see many of the green moves they’ve been making of late – it just goes to show; green business is good business!