While laundry pods are supposed to be biodegradable, wastewater treatment plants often don’t have the capacity to create the necessary conditions to dissolve them. As a result, the material in question (polyvinyl alcohol) typically ends up in the environment. There’s also an environmental problem when it comes to standard liquid laundry detergent jugs, which are usually landfilled or incinerated instead of recycled.
There’s clearly a need for more sustainable alternatives. That’s why a handful of laundry product companies have been exploring more eco-friendly product delivery methods. Among these companies is Frey, a brand that has designed dissolvable detergent sheets that take environmentally harmful materials out of the equation.
Conventional liquid detergent faces two sustainability problems — the amount of plastic that’s used for packaging and the amount of water content in the product, which make the product heavy and thus increase the carbon footprint associated with the product’s transportation.
“You’re now shipping a very heavy liquid all around the world when it’s completely unnecessary to be doing so,” says co-founder Leif Frey. “Your washing machine is right there—just let your machine add water instead of shipping water.” While making laundry detergent more concentrated can help, making the product in sheet form eliminates water—and plastic—altogether.
The startup makes its dissolvable detergent sheets out of naturally derived ingredients and adds starch and protein to help hold the product together until it dissolves completely in the washing machine. The sheets come in a small cardboard box, with compostable plastic wrapping to protect the product.