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Dishwasing detergent environmental impact

Earth friendly dishwashing

Washing dishes using dishwashing detergent can cause damage to the environment. Many dishwashing detergents contain phosphate - it's a naturally occurring substance, but if too much of it gets into waterways, algae and phytoplankton feed on it and reproduce in massive numbers; causing an algal bloom.

One of the most dangerous blooms is created by Blue-green algae, cyanobacteria. If large amounts are ingested, this can even kill humans. Algal blooms block out sunlight and cause oxygen imbalances in a body of water; and as a result kill off other species.

While it's best to use a phosphate free detergent, depending on where you live and whether you wash by hand or use a dishwasher, it may be impractical or cost prohibitive to use phosphate free detergents. This being the case, compare detergents for phosphate levels. A low phosphate level is considered to be around 1.6%, but you also need to compare how much detergent you need to use.

When hand washing dishes, you only need enough suds to cover the top of the water with a thin layer; anything over that is just overkill and aside from environmental concerns, you're just wasting money. Something else to check when buying detergents in plastic bottles is if the bottle is recyclable. You can cut down further on plastic waste by purchasing detergents in concentrated form.

If you have green dishwashing tips, please share them with us :) - you can add your comments below.

Michael Bloch
Green Living Tips.com
Green Living Tips is an online resource powered by renewable energy offering a wide variety of earth friendly tips, green guides, advice and environment related news to help consumers and business reduce costs, consumption and environmental impact on the planet.