Considering that almost everyone has to do laundry, it’s pretty shocking that we use laundry detergents that contain chemicals that harm the environment and can’t even be removed by standard water treatment plants. Fortunately, a biotech startup by the name of Dirty Labs has come up with a solution to clean up our cleaning products.
Instead of using ingredients that are derived from fossil fuels, Dirty Labs is using bio-based ingredients to create a blend of enzymes that are each designed to target different types of stains. Typically, enzymes in common detergents are used as boosters to help the chemicals kill bacteria, but the bio-based detergent uses the enzymes as the key ingredient. Once the detergent goes down the drain, its ingredients biodegrade quickly.
Another way that Dirty Labs has cleaned up the detergent is by designing it to work in cold water. 90 percent of the energy used in laundry machines goes to heat up the water, so making a detergent that works with cold water can save up a whole lot of energy. In fact, research from the American Cleaning Institute says washing four out of every five loads of laundry in cold water would save a household 864 pounds of carbon emissions each year.
Dirty Labs is setting a new standard for how sustainable a detergent can be, but they could soon be followed by bigger detergent companies as new laws aimed at eliminating toxic chemicals in detergents come into effect. For instance, a new state law in New York that will take effect in 2022 will ban the sale of products with more than a tiny amount of 1,4-dioxane, which is a common chemical in detergents.
This just goes to show that Dirty Labs is way ahead of the curve.