Washing Green: Greenhouse Gases & Sustainable Packaging

Did you know that washing your clothes at 30˚C rather than 40˚C over 12 months could save enough energy to light nine rooms for a year? Now is the time to save energy and find out how to go green! As part of our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan we have set ourselves the goal of halving the impact of all our products on the environment by 2020. We’ve examined every aspect of what we do and taken measures to reduce our energy use and carbon emissions across the board, from developing more concentrated products that use less packaging to factories that minimise their energy and water use and maximise recycling. However, we need everyone who uses our products to also get involved and help us to reduce greenhouse gases. In the UK, for example, consumer use (heating the water, running a washing machine, using the detergent) contributes to 87% of the greenhouse gas impact of a wash. The next biggest factor is raw materials (11.6%), followed by manufacturing (0.5%), distribution and retail (0.4%) and disposal (0.3%). But by switching to a green laundry method – washing at lower temperatures and using the correct dosage – you can cut energy use at home, too. 

 

Eco Friendly Laundry Tips:

 

Wash cool

Because heating water to wash clothes contributes to such a significant percentage of the greenhouse gases caused by our laundry products, we are constantly improving our detergents so you can be confident that you’ll still achieve brilliantly clean laundry in water as cool as 15°C. Even just washing at 30°C instead of 40°C could save enough energy to light nine rooms for a year, cutting carbon emissions (and your bills).

 

Dose correctly

To cut down on the natural resources required to make our products, we’ve also been developing products that help you use less in your wash. Since 2008, we have been compacting our powder formulation and have reduced our recommended dose per wash by 25%. We’ve also come up with concentrated liquid formulas such as Surf excel Liquid Detergent that need only a tiny dose to make your clothes beautifully clean. Follow the guidance printed on our packs to know exactly the correct dose for your needs. And remember, full-machine loads are more economical. For more eco friendly laundry advice, check out this article on green cleaning tips.

 

Sustainable Packaging

Sustainable packaging

 

Concentrated liquids and more compacted powders have also allowed us to reduce the size of our packs. A concentrated bottle of washing liquid now requires 40% less packaging than a standard bottle – that’s a potential saving of 33 million litres of water, plastic equivalent to 262 million shopping bags and 665 tonnes of CO2 a year. It also takes up less room on the back of a lorry or container ship – cutting the impact of distribution transport.

 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint does not end with product innovation. Our mantra is ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ ­– reduce the amount, reuse the packaging where possible, or find out how to recycle it if not. Will you help us to reduce greenhouse gases? Find more tips for reducing your carbon footprint here.