Laundry Pods Are Plastic ?
Yup, laundry pods and even laundry sheets are made with polyvinyl alcohol, or PVA, a plastic that is said to be biodegradable, and even edible by some microorganisms. But both claims are highly problematic, and PVA has emerged as a contributor to the soaring microplastic problem.
San Mateo Rotarian Laura Porter, owner of Byrd’s Refill Station in San Mateo is pulling both products off her shelves in January 2023. The decision was a long time in coming, and in her December newsletter she distills the studies and facts, and even the reasons she sold the product as long as she did. She writes “… there are plenty of social media posts and claims, but that doesn’t mean much to me without data or proof. I’m a numbers person, and I needed time to research and comb through data. “
Her thoughtful article, “We’re Saying Goodbye to Sheets and Pods” summarizes current research and the theory vs. the reality of pod and sheet biodegradability. It is well worth the read.
Porter concludes with suggested next steps, including waiting for results of a large microplastics study being conducted in California. She also lists the groups behind a petition calling for more study and regulations of PVA: primarily Blueland, in conjunction with Plastic Pollution Coalition, 5 Gyres, Beyond Plastics, and MADE SAFE. You can access the petition here.