a laundry room in the background with text reading 4 Tips for a Zero Waste Laundry Room in the foreground

Wondering where to start with reducing plastic in your home? Many people choose to start with their laundry room. Not only do these tips save the environment, a lot of them can save you money as well! Keep reading to learn more.

Try a powder 

One of the most conspicuously wasteful parts of a laundry room is all of the plastic jugs of liquid laundry detergent. Almost 900 million jugs are thrown away in the United States each year, and only 30% of them are recycled. That means that 630 million are tossed into the landfill!

The solution? Try a laundry powder! They’re often cheaper per load of laundry than watered-down liquid formulas, and they usually come in a recyclable paper box or tin.
If powder isn’t your thing, there are laundry strips and pods available. There is mixed science about the breakdown of the polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) used in many strips and pods, so it could be best to find pods without a clear coating.

Refill your liquid detergent

If you don’t prefer powdered detergent, try finding a refill or zero waste store near you. Brick-and-mortar stores will allow you to bring your jug of laundry detergent and refill it from a large drum, eliminating the need to buy more plastic containers!

Nearly all brands that zero waste stores carry are more concentrated than what you might find at Target, for example. This means you need less product overall and won’t need to purchase detergent as often.

Additionally, brands that offer detergent in bulk also often use much safer ingredients in their products. They care about the earth and their customers’ health. In fact, several large conventional brands, such as Tide, were recently banned in New York state for containing too high an amount of a probable human carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane.

If you don’t have a refill store near you, try looking for mix-at-home laundry detergent concentrates in recyclable packaging.

Use cold water

This is perhaps the easiest action you can take on this list. Wash your clothes in cold water! 

Nearly 90% of the energy used during a wash cycle is to heat up the water. Washing on cold uses less energy, and therefore reduces carbon dioxide emissions, lowers the cost of your energy bill, and increases the longevity of your clothes.

Hang dry laundry if you can

Another way to save both energy and the quality of your clothing is hang drying. 

Dryers can use up a lot of energy, raising your energy bill and increasing emissions. In 2014, Americans spent an estimated 9 billion dollars on running their dryers! 

Putting your clothes in the dryer can also speed up their deterioration. High heat and friction from tumbling breaks garments down. If you want your clothes to last as long as possible, hang drying is the way to go.

Your ability to hang dry can depend on many things. Time, location, and living space are all factors that might affect your ease of hanging up your clothing to dry.

Our suggestion is to start small! Try drying your clothes in the dryer for half that time you usually would, and air dry them from there. This uses less energy, but doesn’t take quite as long as fully air drying. 

Follow us on Instagram or Facebook for more zero waste tips and tricks! New Moon Refillery is a delivery and pop-up based zero waste store serving the Denver Metro.