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Come visit us on Saturday, May 18th at the Jamaica Plain, Mother's Out Front -Green Living Tour at Curtis Hall Community Center! We'll be there from 1-3 pm!
Come visit us on Saturday, May 18th at the Jamaica Plain, Mother's Out Front -Green Living Tour at Curtis Hall Community Center! We'll be there from 1-3 pm!
Green Washing in the Laundry

Green Washing in the Laundry

Hi All!

I wanted to share this letter from one of our partners, Ceilidh Yurenka, owner of Yes! Eco Store in Arlington, MA, wrote to a reporter after finding out that research had been done proving that most laundry washer strips contain polyvinyl alcohol or polyvinyl chloride, which appears as microplastics and goes directly into our waste water. This is very important as many of these companies are lying about this and presenting to the public as an eco product (this is green washing at its worst, folks!). I will let Ceilidh tell her story below, but I wanted to share it, as many people I know who are trying to do the right thing have been fooled by these companies, selling these false eco sheets. Please read the ingredients when buying a new product! We are all trying to do our best, and if we're careful, we won't regret the effort we've put in. 

Best, Alys


Hi there, Michael, 

I saw your article in the Post recently, and I was beyond thrilled!  See, I own YES! Your Eco Source in Arlington, MA (outside Boston) - a retail store that sells bulk refills for home cleaning & personal care products (i.e. dish soap, laundry detergent, hand wash, shampoo), as well as a variety of other items that either replace single use plastic, or alternative packaging for items that are traditionally in plastic (lip balm, deodorant, toothpaste, etc).
This past summer & fall I was reaching out to different writers and papers trying to find someone that would be interested in hearing more about research I'd done into Tru Earth, but nothing has come of it yet. I'm curious if you would be interested in talking more about what I learned, or if you have a colleague that you think may be interested in connecting with me. 
Since starting my shop in 2020 my top selling product was Tru Earth laundry detergent strips - they don't come in a big plastic container, but rather they are small with minimal packaging, don't create any mess like liquid detergents, are lightweight (making them ideal for elderly people or folks that have to travel to laundry), etc. People LOVED them! Despite the fact that they were relatively quite expensive compared to the other plastic-free laundry detergent options the store carries, I sold thousands of washloads over the past few years. 

Then, last November, a study - partially sponsored by Blueland, a main competitor to companies selling detergent strips - came out with evidence that the binding agent in detergent strips - polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) - doesn’t fully biodegrade, and thus introduces microplastics into the environment. Many reputable environmental organizations signed on their support to the subsequent campaign urging the EPA to remove PVA from the Safer Choice List until more testing on the effects of PVA on our environment and the human body could be done. 

The fact that the study was sponsored by a competitor seemed to be a concerning conflict of interest to us, and I reached out to Tru Earth with many questions. With the help of some amazing research interns, I sifted through the various studies and claims, and in April I ended up pulling the detergent strips from the store shelves, requesting a refund from Tru Earth for the remaining strips I had on hand that I could no longer sell in good conscience.  I finally received the refund, and now I want to share with others what we learned: After speaking with wastewater treatment plants to gain in-depth understanding of the treatment process, learn about the microbial organisms responsible for breaking down PVA, and the length of time needed for this process, the bottom line is PVA in laundry detergent strips does not fully break down, which means using them adds microplastics into our environment, and Tru Earth knowingly continues to mis-market them as eco-friendly and plastic free. 

On Tru Earth’s website, their stated values are:
"We will never compromise our values or cut corners to reduce cost. We will not shortchange the environment to make a profit. We will be transparent about production and ingredients."

Since I've come to the conclusion that all elements of their values are - quite frankly - greenwashing - do you think there is more of a story here?
Here are links to instagram posts about it, part Ipart IIpart III)
Thank you so much for your consideration and time!
All the best,
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