With laundry products being used by the majority of the population, it is important to look closely at the environmental effects of laundry products. Many brands have harmful ingredients and impacts on both the environment and humans. Because detergent and other products are typically one time uses, it is easy to put it in a load of the wash and ignore the far-reaching environmental impacts of it. Some of these negative effects may include how detergents can have surfactants or surface-active agents that are highly toxic to aquatic life and the wasteful packaging that many of the detergents are being sold in.
With the environmental crisis that the Earth is facing, many organizations and companies have been trying to do their part. Many companies have been selling products and advertising them as sustainable and environmentally friendly; it is important to dive deeper and scrutinize the authenticity and accuracy of their claims. A detergent company based out of Philadelphia, Dropps aimed to tackle the environmental impacts that detergents can have by creating a convenient yet sustainable laundry detergent pod. Advertising themselves as an eco-friendly laundry detergent while being sustainable, convenient, and cost effective, Dropps has hit the household product industry by storm. They are plant driven, plastic free, and boast a cruelty free guarantee. Due to it’s very intentionally sustainable and plant-based products and eco friendly shipping and packaging methods, I would rate this product pretty highly in its “what’s it made of” category. Unfortunately, there is a lack of transparency and information for its method of manufacturing and who is behind the manufacturing so that would bring down the score to a 1.7.
On the Dropps website for the product, the Stain & Odor Detergent is advertised to be made of, “plant-based ingredients'. The design of the detergent is similar to Tide Pods where there is a pod of stain-fighting soap that will dissolve as it is put into the washing machine. The liquid inside the pod is said to be created from “natural plant-based enzymes” to help clean the clothing. The stain-fighting soap is created from surfactants, molecules with a unique chemical structure, that helps to emulsify dirt from the clothing while in water. The stain fighters are the enzymes that are added into the soap; Dropps uses a blend of protease and amylase in theirs. The pod membrane is a water soluble casing called Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) which dissolves with water and is consumed by microorganisms. The overall ingredient list is on their website and includes, “alcohols, C12-16, ethoxylated*, glycerin*, alkyl (C10-16) ether sulfate, sodium salt*, water, subtilisin, alpha amylase, polyethylene glycol monododecyl ether*, polyvinyl alcohol film (PVOH) with a bittering agent.” with the asterisks indicating plant or mineral origin. Not only is Dropps proposing very sustainable claims for their products, their transparency is reflecting the same ideals.
Dropps boasts their products are free of artificial dyes and colors, proven by the naturally clear appearance of their pods. With its competitor, Tide pod, being colorful and artificially dyed, there can be adverse effects from these items. They can be mistaken as food for children, and there can be dangerous consequences. Dropps completely avoids this while being sustainable. With their pods being made from plant or mineral origin, it is clear that Dropps has a commitment to plant based products and sustainability.
Not only is the actual product relatively sustainable and environmentally friendly, the packaging also reflects the same values the company boasts. Their packaging is compostable and designed to be a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic. It is packaged and shipped in a fully compostable and recycled cardboard box, and the cardboard used in the boxes is approximately 50% post-consumer recycled material with the remaining material sourced from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program and certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. The way that Dropps detergent pods products get to their consumer is through a subscription and it is mailed in what doubles as the packaging and the shipping containers. The shipping is also very critical to analyze as it can adversely affect the environment; Dropps claims a 100% carbon neutral shipping process. They have partnered with 3Degrees, a company that helps organizations achieve renewable energy and decarbonization goals, to offset the carbon from every shipment. According to their website, this year alone they have been able to offset over 650 metric tons of carbon.
Not only is Dropps very sustainable, they are a cost effective choice. With their competitor, Tide pods, costing about 0.25 cents per pod, there is a clear comparison to how Dropps is cheaper and more sustainable at 0.20 cents per pod. By purchasing Dropps, a consumer can ensure that the environment and their own wallets are being prioritized.
From the actual making of the products to the shipping, Dropps has achieved something many companies struggle with when it comes to sustainability. They are able to be relatively transparent while being honest to their consumers. For this, they would be rated a high 2.5.
The Dropps pods are manufactured in Chicago with no testing on animals. With the manufacturing of this product happening in Chicago, this means that there is a result of jobs being created and the economy effectively moving through this production. This was the only information I was able to find on Dropps laundry detergent pods; while the infromation is limited, it is actually more than most companies will provide. There is also a dedication to using recycled and compostable materials which is a positive throughout how the product is created. Due to this, it can be rated a 1.
Dropps was created by Jonathon Propper in Philadelphia from the inspiration of his mother wanting to be able to wash her sweater while eliminating anything that did not add value. Through this, Dropps has been able to grow as a company. Propper has been trying to be a transparent and available CEO of Dropps by even being shirtless and talking about the “naked truth” of Dropps in a recent Dropps commercial. It is clear this company is authentic and down-to-earth, unafraid to show its CEO in such a vulnerable position.
Along with how the CEO present himself to the Dropps audience, there is also a sense of camaraderie and care for the employees of Dropps. During the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020, Dropps was transparent and open to how their employees were being treated through the pandemic. They recognized that the health and safety of their employees is their top priority. They offered paid sick leave, paid childcare leave, and paid leave of absence for vulnerable team members. Dropps provided essential masks, gloves, sanitizer, and hand soap for employees and ensured frequent cleaning and disinfecting of workplaces. They separated their shipping partners with their warehouse workers by not allowing them to interact in the warehouse; the shipping partners were not allowed to be in the warehouse. They also had remote work for all non-warehouse employees. By showing a sense of concern and prioritizing their employees, it is clear that Dropps has cares for their employees.
With this information, Dropps can be rated a 1.5 for the who makes it section.
https://www.dropps.com/products/stain-odor-lavender-eucalyptus-laundry-detergent-pods [the Dropps product website]
https://thephiladelphiacitizen.org/meet-the-disruptor-dropps/#:~:text=Dropps%20pods%2C%20which%20are%20manufactured,said%20box's%20child%2Dsafety%20latch. [information about the manufacturing and CEO of Dropps]
https://www.greenmatters.com/p/detergent-environmental-effects [general environmental impacts of detergent]
https://www.businessinsider.com/dropps-laundry-detergent-pods-review [a business perspective of Dropps]
https://brightly.eco/dropps-laundry-detergent/ [general information about Dropps]
https://dropps.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360037948691-What-is-Dropps-packaging-made-of- [analyzing the packaging and shipping of Dropps]
https://www.thereducereport.com/home/zero-waste-laundry-detergent-roundup [estimating the cost of Dropps versus their competitors]
https://www.dropps.com/blogs/spincycle/from-our-founder-ceo-on-covid-19 [what is Dropps doing for their employees]