Procter & Gamble announced this week that it will eliminate phosphates from all of its laundry detergents — which include brands such as Tide, Ariel, Cheer, Gain, Ace and Bold — by the end of 2015. The company says the goal of the change is to provide consumers with superior cleaning performance while eliminating the harmful effects of the chemicals on the environment.
Gianni Ciserani, Group President of Global Fabric and Home Care said: “Our strong commitment to innovation, research and development has allowed us to improve the performance of our laundry products while also eliminate phosphates. We believe that action speaks louder than words in the area of sustainability. Through hard work and commitment, we are continuously innovating to make it easier to care for the world on wash day.”
Phosphates, which are used to soften hard water, can deplete oxygen levels, and cause algae blooms and even fish deaths when they make it into public water supplies. According to the Guardian, P&G already eliminated phosphates from its laundry detergents sold in the US in the early ‘90s as part of a voluntary commitment from the American Cleaning Institute, an industry group of which the company is a member, and from its detergents sold in Europe several years ago. So P&G’s latest commitment will likely have the greatest impact on developing countries that have yet to regulate phosphates in detergents.
Other companies such as Unilever and Seventh Generation, which never used them, have proactively eliminated phosphates from their products.
Len Sauers, VP of Global Sustainability at P&G commented: “Our size and scale provide us with a unique opportunity to make a difference when it comes to changing consumer behavior. With this very concrete action of our Fabric Care Business as well as those to follow, we intend to improve the quality of people’s lives today and for generations to come.”
Since the launch of its Eco-Scale rating system in 2011, Whole Foods Market has required full disclosure of ingredients on all household cleaning product labels. Products are rated — red, orange, yellow or green — according to the specific set of environmental and sourcing standards each product meets; Whole Foods will not sell red-rated products.