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E-M:/ laundry disks

Enviro-Mich message from "Jane.Rice" <JANERICE@MSU.EDU>

Here's a reply to a question from last month regarding the effectiveness
of laundry disks.  Laundry disks are hollow plastic shells filled with
small granules that are used in place of laundry detergent as an effective,
less-polluting way to wash clothes.  They are sold in stores and through
catalogs that specialize in environmentally-friendly products.  The
question from last month was "Do they work?".

According to the April 1997 issue of ChemMatters, the answer is no.  A
private laboratory hired by Seventh Generation, an environmental products
company in Colchester, Vermont, found that the laundry disks were no
better than plain warm water for cleaning clothes.  Laundry disks appear
to be effective cleaning agents because "people don't appreciate how effective
just washing clothes in warm water is," according to Jeffrey Hollender, the
president of Seventh Generation.  Clothing washed with the laundry disk
appears clean because the fabrics contain residual detergent from previous

So you can save the fifty dollars it would cost to buy a set of three
laundry disks and just use much less detergent to achieve clean clothes
with less pollution.

Jane Rice, Ph.D.
Environmental STudies Program Coordinator
Michigan State University

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