This interview is part of ReCo Circular CityTM 2023 edition, Circular Sydney. For more information, please visit reco.net.au/circular-sydney
In our product research, we tested different types of packaging for laundry detergent. Here's a quick guide on the popular materials and how to recycle them correctly to avoid plastic waste.
1. Laundry powder cardboard boxes
Surely, the laundry powder cardboard boxes are recyclable?
Like takeaway coffee cups, most of these cardboard boxes are coated in a plastic layer. The plastic layer protects the products from leaking and humidity, but it makes the cardboard box hard to recycle.
How to dispose it:
Check both inside and outside the box. If the surface is shiny, it's laminated with plastic. Or rip the cardboard and see if it's layered.
If it's not laminated, dispose of it in the recycling bin. Otherwise, bin it. You can check with your local recycling facility. They might have a machine to separate the plastic lining, but the chance would be very minimal.
2. Laundry liquid plastic bottles
Laundry liquid containers that are mostly made from PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) or HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene).
Some tips for you:
Tip 1: Buy ultra-concentrated detergent in big volume. Use the recommended dosage, so you can buy less often. Buying less means you'll bin less.
Tip 2: Reuse, Reuse, Reuse! These bottles are durable and can last a lifetime. Buy toxin-free laundry liquid so that you can reuse the bottle safely. DIY & Crafts has some fun ideas.
Tip 3: Recycling, the last option. Don't forget to use up all the liquid before you dispose of it in the recycling bin. Leave the lid on for recycling.
Recycling should be the last option.
Most plastic can only be recycled for a few times. Recycling only delays, rather than prevents. Adding to this is the cost and energy to transport and recycle them.
3. Plastic refill pouches
We're all for refills. With refills, we're able to give new life to existing resources, minimising the need for producing additional items. It's a win-win situation for both the environment and our wallets.
As much as they are reusable, most refill pouches are made from plastic and may have a short life span through wear and tear. At the end of life, they might be hard to recycle. As of 2023, we also have a soft plastic recycling crisis in Australia. The plastic cap attached to the pouch may add up to the complexity of recycling.
Our questions are, can these plastic pouches withstand wear and tear? Can they be safely sanitised? Are they easily recyclable? We are not convinced of the environmental impact of these pouches, and would avoid them at all costs.
4. Aluminium containers
Aluminium is light weight and is one of the most recycled materials. However, corrosion occurs in environment where pH is very high or very low, or at high potentials in electrolytes with high chloride concentrations.
In other words, aluminium material shouldn't be used for laundry detergent at all.
5. Laundry pods or strips
There have been many cases of children ingesting the colourful laundry pods. If you have children, we don't recommend this option at all.
Laundry strips have not had any poisoning of children reported. While we don't have personal experience with them, reviews so far have been positive.
This Interview is part of Circular Sydney.
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Circular Sydney shares the stories of visionary individuals and organisations who are pioneering change, overcoming challenges and reshaping Sydney’s sustainable future. Circular Sydney is proudly supported by the City of Sydney Knowledge Exchange Grant.
Refillable eco-friendly products, delivered in your local areas
Get our refillable laundry powder and dishwasher powder, proudly made by SimplyClean from Lismore, NSW. We collect your empty glass jar and deliver your refill to help reduce plastic waste and carbon emissions.