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  • Good or Evil?

    July 02, 2024

    Good or Evil?

    There’s an awful lot of doom and gloom out there. While 95% of it may be truthful, let’s not forget about balance and perspective. Whether we're talking about laundry strips or politics. 

    When I launched What’s Good in 2019 my intent was to cater to all shades of green. This means reaching out to the Amazon shopper, the person who’s never considered the environment or her health, the person who wants to do more good but doesn’t know how, and of course, the person living the greenest of lifestyles. I wanted What’s Good to be welcoming and inclusive, without shaming customers for their choices. And, I wanted to offer more choices, from the most extreme product switches to options that mimic traditional products, just better. 

    To accomplish this, we deliberately decided NOT to be just a zero-waste store or a 100% plastic free — this doesn’t mean we’re not 100% discerning or lacking in criteria. We research how “green” a product is, how effective it is at its given task, where it’s made, who makes it, its packaging, how much it costs, and whether the maker gives back in some way shape or form.

    Thus we say, “Curated eco-friendly and socially responsible products at fair prices for all shades of green from businesses that share our commitment to people and planet.”

    I don’t have to tell you that the world of green is complex, and full of green-washing (products that purport to be green but aren’t). Right now, Tru Earth Laundry Strips are experiencing some push back. Consumer Reports gave them a lower score than made-in-China knock offs because they cost more having been made in Canada, giving the general impression that they don't rank as high as other products. And now the inter web is aghast that they contain PVA.

    Before you throw Tru Earth Laundry Strips under the bus, I’d like to share some perspective.

    Tru Earth strips do contain PVA.
    Polyvinyl Acetate is a synthetic polymer used as a bonding agent. Unlike microplastics, it is fully water soluble. It approved by the FDA in food packaging and pharmaceuticals — it may even be in your gum (not ours, of course).  That said, PVA is still a synthetic and considered part of the plastic family though Tru Earth representatives still say there is no plastic in their laundry detergent. We also acknowledge that just because the FDA says it's okay, doesn't necessarily make it so.

    Here's our take…

    When compared to Tide pods or big plastic jugs of toxic liquid full of dyes, Tru Earth laundry strips win. (We cannot speak to off brand, made-in-China knock offs.) When compared to the microplastic shedding in your everyday laundry from yoga pants, sweatpants, polyblend t-shirts, stretchy jeans, socks, etc. they are far less damaging. So, when a customer comes into our store dressed head to toe in athletic wear (some even holding plastic cups complete with plastic straws from the nearby coffee stand!) and say they could never use a product containing a minor amount of PVA, we simply guide them to a laundry powder. It’s all perspective. Sure, we would we love Tru Earth to find an alternative, perhaps a plant-based polymer? But even a plant-based polymer has issues and presents yet another complex round of discussion. Ugh.

    As someone smarter than me said, “It’s important to emphasize that perfection is the enemy of progress.” So for now, What’s Good believes it is better to convert people using big plastic jugs of toxic liquid detergent to these strips. Tru Earth laundry strips are made in Canada, so we know they're regulated and their employees are treated fairly. Their small, concentrated size means we're not shipping heaving bottles of liquid (mostly water, a key resource) around the globe, there is no plastic jug, and because we carry them without packaging in our bulk refill station, there's less footprint still.

    As better products come to market, we will certainly be switching. Until the perfect solution arrives, we stand by these strips as a better, more eco-friendly alternative. And they're a huge help to our older generation who struggle under the weight of big jugs or buckets. 

    And it’s okay if you disagree… we have loads (!) of made in the USA, good for you and the planet laundry powder from Meliora. 


    P.S. All of our little eco switches add up and are especially good for your immediate and long term health. And by greening your lifestyle, we create a global conscience, a movement toward more responsible consumerism. But if you really want to make a difference on a global scale, we need to push for more regulations (in spite of SCOTUS), laws, carbon taxes...your vote matters.

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