News Treehugger Voices Blueland Makes the Coolest Zero Waste Dish Soap It has plastic-free laundry and dishwasher tablets, too. By Senior Writer University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Katherine Martinko Published August 3, 2020 12:45PM EDT Blueland's plastic-free, zero-waste dish washing powder and tablets. Blueland (used with permission) Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices Blueland is changing housecleaning. The U.S.-based company has come up with a brilliant business model that ships dry tablets of concentrated cleaning powders in compostable paper bags to customers, who then dissolve them in water-filled spray bottles and use them to clean their homes. It's simple, affordable, effective, and plastic-free (after acquiring the reusable spray bottles). I've been using Blueland's original trio of bathroom, glass, and multi-purpose cleaners and its foaming hand soap since last October, when the company sent me a trial package, and have been very happy with the results. So when my contact reached out to say that Blueland had expanded its product line to include plastic-free dishwasher and laundry tablets and a powdered dish soap, I was eager to give them all a try. Plastic-Free Tablets Laundry and dishwasher tablets are a significant source of plastic waste because most brands come wrapped in a thin clear layer of PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) plastic. This thin layer makes them handy to use, which is precisely why 11 billion PVA-wrapped laundry tablets are used every year in the United States (not to mention between 700 million and 1 billion plastic laundry jugs). But as Blueland explains in its Laundry Fact Sheet, PVA is not fully biodegradable. "It has only been shown to biodegrade in very specific circumstances that do not exist in most wastewater treatment plants or the natural environment. [As a result] PVA may make its way into our waterways and food chains." So Blueland offers an alternative – bare, unwrapped tablets that work just as well as any other cleaner, minus the plastic film. These are formulated without dyes, phosphates, chlorine, parabens, or phthalates, and can be used exactly like any other cleaning tab: put it in the machine (dishwasher tablets go in the usual spot, laundry ones directly in the drum), including HE washing machines on hot or cold cycles, and press start. Blueland's new plastic-free laundry tablets. Blueland (used with permission) Why not use powdered laundry or dishwasher soap, straight from a cardboard box? You can do that, too; it's just as good a plan, and it's what I've always done until Blueland kindly sent me its samples. But for those people who like the convenience of not having to gauge amounts, who prefer reaching into a little metal tin and fishing out a pre-measured tablet, Blueland is a great option. Zero Waste Dish Soap Where I think Blueland really excels, however, is with its powdered dish soap. I've been on the lookout for zero waste dish soap for several years now and have tried a few options, from liquid concentrate in a compostable wax tube to a bar of olive oil-based soap beside the sink, but Blueland's innovative dish powder is by far the most appealing. It comes in a 16-ounce paper envelope with a reusable silicone shaker bottle (it's a form of plastic, yes, but better than buying a new plastic bottle every time you need dish soap). The powder is emptied into the bottle and, whenever you need to clean something, you shake a small amount onto the dish, pot, or your scrub pad. "It's kind of like Comet," my husband said the first time he used it, "but greener." I like that it suds up beautifully and, as soon as water is added, acts no differently than regular dish soap. Blueland's full product line. Blueland (used with permission) I've written before about the importance of reducing plastic waste by getting water out of our household and skincare products. The fact is, much of what we ship around the world is water volume, with the actual cleaning ingredients diluted within; whereas shipping just the additive in dry, concentrated form would make the whole process far more efficient, less of a hassle, and better for the environment. Blueland is a pioneer in this field, and I suspect we'll see more companies following in its footsteps as people realize the brilliance of dehydration. You can order products individually, as kits, or sign up for a subscription service. Unfortunately Blueland is only available to American customers at this time.