Thread Number: 79700  /  Tag: Detergents and Additives
Detergent Capsules and plastic
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Post# 1035897   6/21/2019 at 06:20 by liberatordeluxe (UK)        


Does anyone know if the concentrated laundry capsules such as Persil 'Powercaps' contain plastic?

Just got me thinking after watching the 'War on Plastic' on BBC One.

Post# 1035905 , Reply# 1   6/21/2019 at 07:45 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Short answer is yes

launderess's profile picture
Pods are made from synthetic polymers, which are a type of plastic.

Some claim the things clog up their drains, but that isn't a wide spread concern.

However at least for laundry there are reports of the things not dissolving in the wash, lasting through rinse. If not caught before drying the "plastic" can bake onto laundry. Happened once when using a St. Croix detergent pod in the famous water stingy AEG Lavamat. Ruined a nice white t-shirt..

Post# 1035917 , Reply# 2   6/21/2019 at 08:58 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
Nephew & GF (now wife) use Tide pods in my F&P GWL08 (which is now 19y 11mo of age, serial number June 1999).  Last time I was there to help them move (to a 3rd-floor apt), I pulled the basket for a smutz exam.  Found a layer of slightly-orange-ish gelatinous residue in the tub sump.

Post# 1036191 , Reply# 3   6/23/2019 at 14:40 by perc-o-prince (Southboro, Mass)        
Have pulled...

plastic from Cascade d/w pods out of spray arms on Miele dishwashers when folks claim washability issues. That, and the pods are way too much soap.


Post# 1036192 , Reply# 4   6/23/2019 at 14:55 by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        
As we wage war on plastic

ozzie908's profile picture
How do we get away from the detergent manufacturer's constant removal of powder in favour of pods or liquid? As both use more plastic than a box of powder.
Maybe its a return to the old ways and powder will make a come back?


Post# 1036245 , Reply# 5   6/24/2019 at 06:07 by liamy1 (-)        
War on plastic

Have that recorded to watch.

Re powder, I don't know the figures for last couple of years or so, but until fairly recently (as in not more than 3 years ago) powder was still the U.K.s best selling format (think 53% vs 47%).

But as the "war on plastic" does seem to have REALLY ramped up this year especially, I think as mentioned, we will see that figure increase.

This is where it will be really interesting to see what the manufacturers do to respond to this, as well known by us here, this would be something P&G and Unilever really WOULDN'T want; as demonstrated by it seemingly being as inconvenient as possible, scoops not included and very difficult to get one, boxes not as convenient as they could be to dose (the mid size 22 wash boxes especially from P&G drive me insane) and of course one or two variants disappearing recently.

Post# 1036246 , Reply# 6   6/24/2019 at 06:32 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Powders are done for, IMHO

launderess's profile picture
Given the push towards warm to cool or even cold water on wash day, formulating powdered detergents that work at such low temps is a challenge. Yes, TOL offerings such as Persil (Henkel or Unilever) and certain commercial products manage when the dial is turned down to 85C or so, but others can and do fail.

Detergent powders still relying upon heavy amounts of soda, borax, Zeolites and so forth may not dissolve properly in cold water. Besides giving a poor wash, you end up with streaks or bits of powder every where.

Big push is towards pods and liquitabs, and yes liquids. P&G, Henkel, et al want to get away with using less water for their liquid detergents. But the thicker things get you have issues with dosing. All of us who tried Ariel gel faced that issue at one point or another I reckon.

Ariel's failed "powergems" attempt shows the difficulties of formulating a compact powdered laundry product that gives pods/liquidtabs a run for their money. Tablet laundry detergents staged a brief comeback awhile ago, only to have that platform once again abandoned as history repeated itself.

Post# 1036248 , Reply# 7   6/24/2019 at 07:22 by liamy1 (-)        

Have to wholeheartedly agree when it comes to cool/cold washing, liquids have powders beat, but you're right, some liquids are getting so thick/gelatinous it's becoming harder to rinse them through, the normal Ariel liquid (not the gel variant we have) rarely can be used successfully in the detergent drawer as it doesn't flush it all down in the wash fill, so some remains until the first rinse phase. so dosing ball must be used.

The one thing I don't think we've ever had in the U.K. is a mainstream brand powder advertised as "cold" water powder, like cold power etc available in other parts of the world. I know Tesco did have their own version which specifically stated cold water powder (as in that was specifically stated on the box), but you're going back about 10 years, so either, didn't work, or didn't sell well, but could just simply be is that it was an own brand and surprisingly, even in times of recession, people are hard pushed to switch from a main brand detergent.

Sure we have powders that state they work as low as 30 /85 degree as you say, but nothing formulated pushed on cold/works at 15 /59, like we do with the Ariel gels/Persil liquids (suspect this is because again this is something P&G and Unilever wouldn't want to prove too successful here).


Post# 1036252 , Reply# 8   6/24/2019 at 08:01 by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        
Sad to say that as far as the War on Plastic goes

ozzie908's profile picture
In my laundry I will stick to and use powder as I find it the most convenient and it works I also wash at 50 or 60c depending on soil level but as for washing below 40c .......Never not in my machine.


Post# 1036258 , Reply# 9   6/24/2019 at 09:55 by combo52 (Beltsville,Md)        
Detergent Pods Are Made From PVA

combo52's profile picture
They break down completely and are even approved for coverings on food, it is often used in dietary supplements for the capsules.

The bits of plastic that all us service folks often see stuck in DW wash arms is NOT from detergent pods but rather from careless users letting bits of plastic wrappings get in their DWs.

John L.

Post# 1036275 , Reply# 10   6/24/2019 at 13:54 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Consider also local water quality

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Liquid/gel detergents seem to have a far easier time coping with hard water than most powders. Again there are premium industrial/commercial products that are effective in moderately to water so hard one can chip a tooth by drinking, this even when not using Zeolites, but on average your typical soda and other salt laden products will are another matter.

Of course if phosphates were still allowed, that would put a completely different complexion on things.

Post# 1036334 , Reply# 11   6/25/2019 at 06:29 by MatthewZA (Cape Town, South Africa)        
Powders Sold in Plastic Bags...

But then here in SA, probably more than 10 years ago already, Unilever stopped packaging powders in boxes, and rather puts them in a form of plastic bag :/ and now as of the last 2 years, there is no mainstream or store brand detergent that comes in a box, no matter what quantity. 250g to 5kg all comes in a plastic bag, and some brands (Omo & Skip) sells 9kg sizes in plastic buckets, while Ariel 9kg is still in a plastic bag.

Quite sad considering the war on plastics, and I personally just miss buying washing powder in a box.

Not sure what our local stats are regarding sales of powder vs liquids, but I think most locals still like powder (with what we have on the market, the 2kg powder which sells for the same price as a 1.5L liquid, actually lasts longer, so its better value for money),but there are lots of yuppies and yummy mummies that think using liquids and pods is just the poshest thing they can do...

a Few example pictures

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 6         View Full Size
Post# 1036343 , Reply# 12   6/25/2019 at 07:26 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Plastic bags are streets ahead of paper containers

launderess's profile picture
For sort of powder, especially those that will absorb moisture and or degrade by that process. Plastic containers make powders of all sorts far more shelf stable, and in the home or wherever as well.

Then there is the whole "green" issue; as Edwina Monsoon would say plastic is "kind to forests" why "because they (the containers in this case) ain't made of bloody wood". *LOL*

Post# 1036347 , Reply# 13   6/25/2019 at 07:37 by MatthewZA (Cape Town, South Africa)        

It is a bit of a catch 22. I agree that the palstic does help shelflife, and its easy to reseal after opening (I bought 3x 3KG bags of Skip on a black friday sale 2 years ago, and I'm down to my last 1.5-ish kilos (using that and a combination of Omo and Skip liquids I bought on a clearance that same year, hence taking a while to work through it all), and its still as fresh as the day I bought it)

And yes,when the change was made all those years ago the manufactureres said it was to be more eco friendly, but It just makes me wonder why other countries havent gone this route? And are the plastic bags more eco friendly than the cardboard box? Given the current war on plastics...

Post# 1036348 , Reply# 14   6/25/2019 at 07:43 by MatthewZA (Cape Town, South Africa)        
There is still 1 box powder available...

We have 1 brand that still comes in a box.. But inside that box is a plastic bag holding the powder. Bio Classic. Our "triple concentrated" detergent. Leaves no fragrance, comes with a scoop about the size of a table spoon, and claims to be the best detergent for cleaning, machine maintenance, and the most economical due to its concentrated formula... But its quite expensive, and in my opinion, good ol' fashioned Omo is still the best at stain removal...

  View Full Size
Post# 1036356 , Reply# 15   6/25/2019 at 12:42 by liamy1 (-)        

You tend to find that countries that still have a high penetration of hand washing laundry, have higher availability of powder in plastic bags, simply due to as Laundress stated, should the user handle a box with wet hands, put it down on a wet surface or indeed spill wash water, then that's your detergent gone.

The U.K. has precisely 0 powders in plastic bags. We did have them around 20-25 years ago when the short lived "compact" powders came in (eg Ariel "Ultra", Persil "Micro"). They were sold on an "eco" basis in that you bought a refill bag in the store and refilled your existing box at home, thus having "less" packaging to throw away (in the days before any real recycling and acute awareness of environment impact the pitch was focused around not taking up as much space in the rubbish bin (trash can for US folk) so less in landfill.

This same pitch was used on refill liquids too which came in bags (which have in fact been reintroduced in the last 2 years or so).

Can't find any ads specifically showing powder being refilled in to the box, but loads for liquid version (there are plenty of ads there though showing the powder in bags)

Post# 1036368 , Reply# 16   6/25/2019 at 15:42 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
IIRC Tide powder detergents (if you can find them), are still sold in boxes. So is Persil (Henkel/Germany), and probably a majority of laundry detergent powders still sold in USA. Again there aren't many and or products don't seem to be in wide or deep distribution. Most stores have barely any shelf space left dedicated to powdered detergents. You *may* find the odd boxes of Tide, but usually only one version .

Post# 1036373 , Reply# 17   6/25/2019 at 16:35 by liamy1 (-)        

Of that happening here. whilst very true that there is less shelf space given to powders than once was, and the wet detergents aisle space is at least 3 times that of powder, we still have a powder version of nearly every detergent brand and variant we have.

The only one that has "gone" from what I have heard is Ariel colour powder. However this *can* still be obtained from warehouse club stores/ online etc in the giant sizes, just not from supermarkets in the standard range of sizes.

The warehouse club/ online stuff though is always the range they term "Professional", but I don't know if this is just while stocks deplete as looking on Makro (U.K. version of something along the lines of Costco, but is for the trader - next to impossible to be a member unless a business owner) doesn't even have it.


Post# 1036390 , Reply# 18   6/26/2019 at 01:14 by MatthewZA (Cape Town, South Africa)        
Refill Packs...

Refill packs,now that you mention it, actually make so much sense. Here in SA we get most dishwashing liquids, cream cleaners (Handy Andy, etc) and some trigger cleaners and most fabric softeners in refill pouches for you to decant into your plastic bottle. So I am actually now wondering why or when the manufacturers will start doing that with laundry detergents too. I know I probably sound like a broken record about price,but due to the refill packs of the above mentioned products being significantly cheaper than the bottles, my fiance and I buy refill packs most of the time unless there is a decent sale on bottles, or unless the bottle we want to refill is starting to look like its been to the war and back. What I have noticed, is my dishwasher powder (Bio Crystal) has started popping up in 900g refill pouches (the palstic bottles are 1kg) and that refill pouch is a noticeable ZAR15 cheaper than the bottle. Just a bit hard to find as not all the supermarkets are stocking the refills yet.

As for shelf space for liquids and powders, I feel like we are still quite a 50/50 split because like liamy1 said, we also have a liquid version of all the powders in the automatic segement, but most of our handwash detergents are still powders, with only OMO and Sunlight offering handwash liquids, so about 90% of our handwash detergents are still powders.

The pod market also isnt that big here yet, with only Ariel and OMO having pods available. Unless one goes to the UK Emporium (of which there is only 2 in the country, and we are lucky enough to stay walking distance from the bigger of the 2) and they bring in Persil and Daz pods.

Post# 1036396 , Reply# 19   6/26/2019 at 01:44 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Refill package---you are still throwing out ANOTHER container!What would be better is a bulk container at your store you fill YOUR detergent container from.Then there would truly be LESS containers being thown into the waste system.

Post# 1036397 , Reply# 20   6/26/2019 at 01:56 by thomasortega (We have a famous sign, earthquakes, bushfires and weed)        

Well, comparing in terms of volume... nope....

A plastic bag is far less "plastic waste" than a plastic bottle...

If people have the chance to reuse a single plastic bottle for several months or years, then the plastic bag refill is an excellent choice.

HOWEVER.... We all know not everybody's brain work like that, specially those "walmart" consumers.

Post# 1036416 , Reply# 21   6/26/2019 at 08:31 by ozzie908 (Lincoln UK)        
@ liamy1

ozzie908's profile picture
Have you looked in pound stretcher I buy the big Ariel colour from there they have stacks of it.

Buy my Persil non bio from Farmfoods as they often have 2-4-1 deals.

I just search the net for cheapest place to buy local...


Post# 1036437 , Reply# 22   6/26/2019 at 15:43 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Haven't yet to try any American detergent pods

launderess's profile picture
But the versions from Europe (St.Croix) seem perfectly suited to washing in the Miele or AEG Lavamat machines.

Even tablet detergents from across the pond work well, mind you however only use the one tab instead of two. Water here is very soft so don't need more than one tablet.

Post# 1036443 , Reply# 23   6/26/2019 at 17:25 by LowEfficiency (Iowa)        

lowefficiency's profile picture
>> tolivac wrote:
>> Refill package---you are still throwing out ANOTHER container!What would be better is a bulk
>> container at your store you fill YOUR detergent container from.Then there would truly be LESS
>> containers being thown into the waste system.

I'm not a fan of all of the disposable plastic either, but when weighing environmental impact, you really do have to look at the bigger picture.

Cardboard boxed products are rarely "just cardboard". Almost always they have plastic or waxy coatings, inside and out, to block moisture and improve durability. Those coatings make them very difficult to recycle, so they go straight to the landfill. They cost more to make too, due to the variety of materials and the steps to produce a formed multi-material box.

Plastic pouches, on the other hand, are single-material packaging, and therefore MUCH easier to recycle. In addition, they use less energy to produce, use less overall material, and are smaller for a given amount of product contained. Their deformable shape allows for more dense packing when put in cases for shipping to retailers, all of which reduces the environmental impact of the transportation of goods from manufacturer to distributor to retailer.

Bulk product dispensers of course are an even better solution for the environment, but they add hassle and mess for the retailer, and are perceived as less convenient for consumers, so selling product that way is an uphill battle.

Post# 1036627 , Reply# 24   6/29/2019 at 01:04 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

At this point just buy the LARGEST container of product that I use before it goes bad.I AVOID the items sold in single use pouches such as drinks or cocoa.Buy it in bulk.

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