Laundry Tips: for the Planet + our Health

The average Canadian family does on average 300 loads of laundry a year! That means a lot of water goes back into our ecosystem, around 14,000L. It’s important to consider what byproducts from our detergents and soaps enter the ecosystem and what comes into contact with you and your family. With endless formulas, products and brands helping to get your clothes clean these days, knowing what to use can be overwhelming. 

To help you break it down and compare the many options available, we have put together a list of pros and cons, so you can get the scoop on powder vs. liquid vs. pods vs. sheets vs. laundry soap bars. This way you can find a product that suits your laundry habits best. 


Laundry Powder


Laundry Liquid


Laundry Pods


 Laundry Strips


Laundry Soap Bars


What is poly-vinyl alcohol (PVA)?

Poly-vinyl alcohol (PVA) is a biodegradable synthetic ingredient found in laundry strips and pods that is used to hold the active ingredients together. It is a petro-chemical that feels like a plastic and dissolves in water, but it’s not technically a microplastic.  PVA is a hot topic amongst the eco-conscious community because there is concern that PVA may not fully biodegrade and may pose a threat to aquatic ecosystems.  

We still carry this product because the US Environmental Protection Agency recently reviewed the research around PVA and found it sufficient to show that, given enough time, that PVA biodegrades and that there is no evidence that PVA causes harm to ecosystems.  If you’d like to be more cautious – go with our bulk detergent options!    


What to look for when purchasing your laundry detergent? 

  • Preference buying bulk detergent + BYO container 
  • Look for big certifications on products like b-corp, fairtrade + organic 
  • Buy products that are made from natural ingredients and have no harsh chemicals, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate + Sodium Laureate Sulphate (SLS/SLES), Chlorine Bleach, Optical Brighteners, 1,4-Dioxane + phosphates. These synthetic substances may be used as surfactants, fragrances, dyes + preservatives and can have a harmful effect on you, animals + the environment. Your Co-op’s products are free from these harmful ingredients.
  • Buy local where you can. Your Co-op favours local, BC and Canadian products.


Tips to make laundry day more eco-friendly!

Even with all the options available to you, there are quick, simple and effortless ways to make laundry day more sustainable.   

  • Do less laundry – do fuller loads + only wash what you really need to  
  • Use less detergent – you often don’t need as much as is suggested  
  • Wash with cold water – heating the water uses a lot of energy + is often unnecessary. If you find detergent residue on your clothing – use a cool wash instead. Pre-treat stains when you can – vinegar is a great natural option  
  • Air-dry clothes – it’s better for the environment + better for your clothes 

So, when deciding which laundering option is best for you and your family, just ask yourself, what matters most?
Is it the cost?
The environmental impact?
The effectiveness?
The convenience?

… and make an informed decision.