Tuesday, April 7, 2009

going green (the hard way)

Uhm, yeah. This story HAS to be read, to be believed. Some people just do not want to change, Hell or high water! Hey, you know what, I use my method dish detergent all the time, and surprise surprise, my dishes are nice and clean. You know what I think is the problem with some people? These people are lazy! (Knock, knock. Oh, hold on, someone's at the door? "Hello? Who's there?" Pot. "Pot who?" Pot, calling your freakin' kettle black! "Oh, about me being lazy?" Yeah! "Well, ok, I am lazy! But hold on, Pot! Listen to what I have to say, ok? Be nice, Pot. Be nice.")

I had a sauce pan recently that had burnt on food. Like, so burnt, I had to, gasp! let it soak! For like, a day! And I used to get really erked when I'd put method floor cleaner on the floor, and have to scrape back and forth on a really nasty spot, and it wouldn't immediately come up! And then I realized, hey, if I put some floor cleaner down on that spot, have a little patience (what is that word? Americans don't use that word any longer? I mean really! The very idea! Patience. What does it mean, anyway... but I digress, as always...) then, tada, it'll easily come right up after it just sits and soaks for five minutes or so.

But today we want our cleaner to go smack dap on the mess, and eat that sucker off, so we don't actually have to do any heavy scrubbing, or waiting, or whatever? Who cares WHAT makes it eat the dirt off (did you know our dish detergent contains baby leeches, which chomp away at your nasty dirt, leaving only clean leech free dishes! They get washed down the sink! But, wait, what happens to them then? Well, they flow into the river, and eat all the fish! But yay, your dishes are sparkling clean!) I mean, my ranting comes from the fact that I've never had a problem with my method dish soap, but these women sound like they're going to die without their phosphates!

Wait, what am I talking about? Well, read for yourself...

"When Clean Dishes Means Smuggling Detergent | By Scott Mayerowitz

Lisa Brewer doesn't consider herself a criminal and she really wants to help the environment -- even biking to work -- but she also wants clean dishes.

Residents in Spokane, Wash. are smuggling dishwasher detergent across state lines because it cleans their dishes better than environmentally-friendly cleaners offered locally. That's why later this week, the Spokane, Wash., resident plans to cross into Idaho and smuggle back some dishwasher detergent.

She's not alone.

Spokane County has banned the use of most common detergents because of the effect they have on area rivers and lakes. The problem is, the environmentally friendly detergents now sold instead just don't seem to do the job.

"I understand what they're trying to do, but when you have to wash a load of dishes twice that's a dilemma," Brewer said. "I just ran out of the old stuff and am going to [Idaho] on Thursday."

Brewer tried a new, eco-friendly cleaner and "my dishes didn't get clean."

"They weren't bad, but the other stuff just did better," she said. "You want to help the environment, but you want your dishes clean."

Most dishwasher detergents in America help get dishes clean with the help of phosphates. The problem is those same cleaning chemicals also lead to algae growth and oxygen depletion in rivers. In Spokane County phosphate levels in rivers and lakes are so high that they are putting fish at risk.

So in July, a new law went into effect banning such water-softening phosphates in dishwasher detergent. It was the first such ban in the country.

But not everybody was happy. Suddenly stores across the border noticed more people with out-of-state license plates stocking up on detergent.

"When Washington first banned, we had a difficult time keeping it in stock," said Randy McIntire, spokesman for grocery chain Super 1 Foods. "I talked to a person who was buying six boxes."

Cigarettes are also cheaper in Idaho and McIntire hypothesized that shoppers are making the trip for a few items, including the banned detergent.

Patti Marcotte stockpiles the normal detergent she buys at an Idaho Costco in the basement of her Spokane home. She says the environmentally friendly brands she tried use more water and energy.

Residents in Spokane, Wash. are smuggling dishwasher detergent across state lines because it cleans their dishes better than environmentally-friendly cleaners offered locally. "I actually had to clean them in the sink, put them in the dishwasher, run with detergent and then run it again to get all the film off," Marcotte told ABC News affiliate KATU.

Shannon Brattebo, an officer with the Washington Lake Protection Association, one of the groups behind the ban, said that she has heard of a lot of people driving to Idaho.

"I don't think people understand why we're doing it [banning phosphates] or why it's important," Brattebo said. "If they did, I don't think the majority of people would mind."

She said that the Spokane River violates state water safety standards and that rather than spend billions of dollars to upgrade sewage treatment plants, it was easier to attack the problem at the source.

Brattebo said people are having mixed results. Some brands are better than others, but the key factor depends on how hard your water is. The harder the water, the less effective the phosphate-free detergents are.

Mary Goodsell is one of the lucky residents.

"Truly, it works fantastic," she said of her new gel detergent.

Goodsell has her own well and finds the water is not as hard.

"I couldn't be any happier. It works so much better than the powder for me," she said.

The cleaning supply industry supports eliminating phosphates, but just not now.

The Soap and Detergent Association backed legislation in 12 states mandating a reduction in the use of phosphorus in automatic dishwashing detergents to a maximum of 0.5 percent by weight by July 1, 2010. Currently, most have about 9 percent.

By summer 2010, residents in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington will need to buy phosphate-free detergent. California also passed such a measure but it was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But for now, the industry admits that it doesn't have a powerful enough phosphate-free cleaner. Dennis Griesing, vice president of government affairs for the Soap and Detergent Association, said his members are working on such detergents and that's why they are supporting the 2010 date.

"In Spokane we had a very full debate on the issue," Griesing said. "We warned them that this would happen, that there would be consumer dissatisfaction."

Head on over to abc.com to read the rest! What do you think? Do these women have a point, or are they just crazy, lazy, and unwilling to change? What WILL it take to make people wake up? Hmm...

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PS - Man, this is a case where method should send a $1. off coupon for their dish detergent to all the residents of Spokane, Washington! (Yeah, yeah, I'd totally do in a company, as I'm sure that would cost a fortune, but doesn't it sound like a great idea!) Imagine everyone there getting a coupon, and they "have" to try a new non-phosphate detergent, so it might spur them on to picking up some method (and naturally lusting it!)

Oh, and yes, I realize leeches don't actually eat dirt, or fish. Just go with me, ok? You'll enjoy the ride, I promise.

8 comments:

Julia said...

I love, love, LOVE Method. But I don't love their dishwasher tablets. Maybe my problem is that I have the old version? (Pink Grapefruit in a pink container, one sachet per wash). I bought a bulk box of the detergent from Amazon.com way back when and I'm using it up begrudgingly.

I'm not opposed to using elbow grease to get my dishes clean, but I shouldn't have re-wash half my dishes that come out of the dishwasher after using Method packets. I know studies show that you use less water if you wash on an energy cycle in the dishwasher. I've tried various techniques from an extra rinse cycle, adding a second Method packet, not drying, and whatnot. Simply put, my glasses are cloudy, my silverware has residue, and the dishes are not clean.

I will continue to use other Method products quite happily but I'm going back to the non-environmentally friendly stuff once I use up what I have of Method.

Nathan Aaron said...

Julia, try Seventh Generation or another brand of environmentally friendly product before you decide to go back to the old evil ones. LOL Seriously, I used Seventh Generation powder until method got around to putting their smarty dish out. And it worked great (well, for me.) I just think there are too many environmentally friendly products out there at this point, to use an excuse such as "none of them work well." I mean, come on, NONE of them? I fail to believe this. Again, not pointing at you, just making a general statement. Good luck!

Julia said...

I'll try 7th Generation or Eco-Tabs (is that the name?) that I've seen at our store. At least I can buy just one box to try out and Wegmans frequently has a coupon for $1 off Nat Foods section along with $1 if you use your reusable grocery bag to check out (Would use any of my 6 reusable grocery bags regardless of discount).

Netta said...

You know what Nathan???? I really think that how the smarty dish cubes work depends on if you have hard water and how hard it is. The method smarty dish cubes works wonderful for me. I can't get enough and they do a wonderful job on my dishes.
However, my girlfriend uses them and can't stand them because it does not clean her dishes at all. She says whenever she uses them she has to wash some if not most of the dishes by hand. So i think that the water plays a major factor in how the smarty dish cubes work.

Nathan Aaron said...

Netta, I know I've heard a few people mentioning issues with the method smarty dish cubes. I have NO clue, they work great for me! BUT you know what, I have to wash my dishes first (gah!) before I put them into the dishwasher anyway, cause I rent a duplex, and the dishwasher sorta sucks. So I actually end up doing the double duty. But after seven years I'm used to it by now, and it's just a quick wash and scrub, prep kind of thing.

BUT, what I'm saying is I'd rather someone try any sort of environmentally friendly product first, because I'm sure one of them will work for them in the end. They can't all not work, right? And if you've exhausted all your eco attempts first, then at least you'll feel better about having to use the bad stuff, instead of just giving in after one attempt and not caring. Make sense?

Julia, yeah, no more dish cleaners in bulk! So sorry! I'm hoping the Seventh Generation will work for you!

Karin said...

The seventh generation gel works for me, whereas the smarty dish cubes do not. I have also found that my dishwasher works much better when I use a rinse aid (yes, I realize I'm not using an environmentally friendly rinse aid, but 1 out of 2 isn't so bad, right?)...and I think I noticed a "green" rinse aid at Whole Foods the last time I was there. I would suggest trying a rinse aid and see if it helps. It seems to make a big difference in my dishwasher.

Netta said...

I definitely get your point Nathan I would use 7th generation or some other environmentally friendly product if I was not satisfied with a method product. For example, Method does not make toilet paper yet so I use seventh generation toilet paper.
My Target runs out of method products very quickly. If I can't get a particular method product and I really need it, without a doubt I will get the seventh generation product.

Jamison said...

Nathan-

You'll be glad to know your Dish Cubes are on their way to you!

Yup. Smile.

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