Earlier I blogged about my new experiment called "The Switch" which is basically an effort to switch, one item at a time, to more sustainable and environment-friendly products. I intend for it to cover a range of products and brands - from household cleaning to corporate needs to personal care. Here's my first on laundry - EcoGreen Natural Herbal Laundry Powder, which is another find on the shelves of Rustan's Fresh Supermarket where I stumble upon a lot of my eco-friendly and organic finds.
I picked up this laundry product because it was screaming eco-friendly from the images on the cover down to the fine print. Plus, it's also locally made.
The product is tightly sealed in a plastic bag inside the box, so you can't really tell what it smells like. The cover promises a mix of lemongrass, patchouli and Philippine sage essences so I figured it was worth the risk. And I was not disappointed. When I finally opened the package, I got a fresh scent that I can't quite pin down -- all I know is that it smells like some natural blend of plant-based things. (Probably because I have no idea what Philippine Sage is! Apparently it is locally known as Sambong, according to a comment I found on MarketMan's blogpost.)
While it smelled pleasant enough in the box, I had a different experience with the washed clothes. The box says to use 25g for half a load and 50g for full loads, and I will have to admit that I am not very good at estimating amounts. On some loads, I don't have a scent at all. Then on other loads, I get an overwhelming scent of lemongrass when the clothes are hanging on the clothesline to dry. (You know how lemongrass is pleasant in small doses but at certain concentration levels it just starts to sting?) I'm not ready to conclude yet that it's the product at fault. Maybe a few more tries and I'll get the proportions right. But it sure isn't convenient to have this much trouble trying to balance the scent of your clothes.
One of the first things you'll notice about this product is that it's not actually a powder. It looks more like chips off of a finely shredded bar of soap. But all the same, it dissolves just as quickly as any other laundry powder. It delivers on its promises of being gentle on fabric, gentle on skin, and doing away with fabric conditioners - my clothes came out quite soft after washing with just this detergent.
On the packaging it also says "gentle on plants" -- hmmmm... I think that still needs to be proven. Will I purchase this again? Maybe, if I get a little more proof.
MORE ABOUT THE PRODUCT
Of all the eco-friendly products I've tested, Eco Green's packaging probably has the most overwhelming promises and claims. On the front cover you will see images of leaves and the earth with the Philippine map prominently displayed (of course!), and a drop of water. Both the front panel and the top flap scream "Go Natural!". "100% Biodegradable", "Dye-Free", "Phosphate Free" and "Hypoallergenic". And as if that wasn't enough, there's a little sticker they added that says "Baby Safe!".
The back panel has a quick note saying:
"Thank you for purchasing Eco Green. Your purchase supports hundreds of small farmers where our ingredients are source."
And the side panel has another checklist of all the benefits, with the dare "Compare Your Brand".
- No need for bleach
- No need for Fabric Softener
- Ultra Concentrated
- Ultra White on White
- Tough on dirt
- Gentle on fabric
- Gentle on Skin
- Gentle on Plants
Coconut oil, Alkali, Lemongrass an Patchouli essences, Philippine Sage.
This product was made in the Philippines.
MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY
Now, with all those claims on the box, I can't help but want to know more. How do I know that this product is really eco-friendly? Who are these Filipino farmers they are helping? What on earth is Philippine Sage? (Although I found that already :) )
The box says you can go to www.ecogreenlaundry.com for more information, but the site actually doesn't exist. Or at least, it was down when I attempted to visit it. That was a real disappointment for me.
The Switch is not just about switching to any product that screams GREEN on its packaging. It's about making smart choices, and knowing what it is you are spending your money on (or who these companies and communities are that you are supporting with your patronage). So until I get some more information, I will probably hold off on purchasing it again.
Here's hoping the site comes up within the next month! Maybe then I can make a follow-up post.
EcoGreen Natural Herbal Laundry Powder can be found at Rustan's Fresh Supermarkets at PhP 165.00 for 1 kg (good for 20 loads).