Today’s Solutions: May 17, 2022

Did you know that your laundry detergent is most likely made from fossil fuels? The key ingredients that produce foam and do away with dirt are called surfactants, which are derived from petroleum. Surfactants are also found in other cleaning products such as dish soap.

Fortunately, multinational consumer goods company Unilever has developed a new laundry capsule that will use surfactants made from recycled carbon emissions instead of petroleum. The laundry capsules will first be available in China under their Omo brand.

Unilever presents these laundry capsules in partnership with green chemical company India Glycols and biotech company LanzaTech. The recycled carbon emissions are sourced from one of LanzaTech’s commercial steel mills that has already used its carbon recycling process to turn industry emissions into jet fuel and alcohol for fragrances.

To make laundry detergent, LanzaTech captures waste emissions and turns them into ethanol through a bioreactor where bacteria eat the emissions. India Glycols takes over from there by turning the ethanol into ethylene oxide, a feedstock to make surfactants.

The beauty of this endeavor is that it has a dual environmental impact. It evades the use of fossil fuels while also preventing unnecessary carbon emissions from being released into the air. This collaboration is part of Unilever’s Clean Future program, an initiative that aims to eliminate fossil-fuel-based chemicals from all of Unilever’s cleaning and laundry products by 2030.

The company hopes that shifting away from petrochemicals that are derived from fossil fuels to chemicals that are made from plastic waste, plants, or recycled carbon, will reduce the carbon footprint of its cleaning products by at least 20 percent.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Europe may launch plan requiring solar panels on all public buildings by 2025

Countries are speeding up efforts to transition to 100 percent renewable energy sources, not just for the sake of the climate, but also to build independence from Russian petroleum. Germany accelerated its own schedule to ... Read More

Breakthrough method that rescues lithium from wastewater

Electric vehicles are the future of transport. Electric vehicle sales increase year after year and, in 2019, accounted for 2.6 percent of global car sales. Electric vehicles are an essential change to be made for ... Read More

Algae powered a basic computer for over six months

Sometimes it can be pretty difficult to imagine our highly technological society coexisting with the natural world. A lot of the time, we seem to live our lives entirely online, in this realm not only ... Read More

Adding blueberries to your diet could help stave off dementia

From slowing cognitive decline to accelerating chronic wound healing, blueberries can have many surprising health benefits. Now, scientists at the University of Cincinnati have uncovered that adding blueberries to your daily diet in middle age ... Read More

An X-ray explosion of a white dwarf star captured for the first time

Everything comes to an end, even stars! When these burning balls of hydrogen and helium use up all their fuel they shrink to white dwarfs. In some rare cases, these dead stars can flare back ... Read More

A species of East African jumping spider targets recently fed mosquitoes

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, so the saying goes. As it turns out, this applies to humans and the natural world as well. Mosquitoes are the prime movers of malaria around the ... Read More