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Is your Laundry Detergent Half Full or Half Empty?

30 Jun 2010

There's a commercial running in Canada from Tide championing their 2x Ultra Tide - specifically that their detergent is only 40% water versus the 70% the competition uses. That, says Tide, means you get more cleaning ingredients for your money. I say getting screwed less is still getting screwed.

There's a point in the commercial where they show a 3/4 empty bottle (the competitor) and then fill it up just past the 1/2 way mark. Tide is pretty much telling you that you are paying twice what you should be. Its really stupid.

So I decided to do something about it - really the only thing consumers can do - and switched to a different product: Method's Laundry Detergent. Method sells an 8x concentrate product made of biodegradable and renewable ingredients.

Method's product is more expensive - but thats almost always the case with environmentally friendly products (and Method's volume is undoubtedly a fraction of Tide's). Also, each of their bottles is individually shrink wrapped - which seems a little counter-productive to their environmental goals. I emailed Method about this (hey, I'm off work for a while, what else do I have going on?) - its a matter of practicality. They buy their label-less bottles (made from 50% recycled material) and then apply the label/shrinkwrap based on the scent they put in (based on demand). Eh, can't be perfect.

I've gone on more than I thought possible about Laundry Detergent, but there's one last neat thing about Method's product. Instead of an oversized cap, they use a pump mechanism. Supposedly, and unsurprisingly, the large cap with a nearly invisible fill-line is meant for us to over fill - thus using more product. Using too much laundry detergent doesn't just cost more, it can wear washing machines and clothes.

You can read more about all of this on the WSJ

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