Lenor Unstoppables is a popular range of scent boosters that enhances the effects of detergents and claims to add a “fresh” scent to your clothes that lasts up to 12 weeks. This is a product I recently came across and purchased after being unsatisfied with the results of a laundry wash. I was looking for a product that could make me feel “cleaner”, more energized and “fresh”. However, after doing some digging into the sustainability of the product, I came to realize how potentially damaging this product could be to the environment.
Not only was this artificial “fresh” scent damaging to my health as most of today’s cleaning products and perfumes are, but it also posed as a danger to the environment through leakage of the waste-water infrastructure, potentially causing harm to plants, animals and aquatic life.
With laundry being an integral part of our daily lives, the products we choose to use within the fabric-care sector are arguably more important in creating change. So if you want to avoid potential harm from the synthetic mix of chemicals but still want to smell “fresh”, there definitely exists products that are more naturally scented, sustainable, or locally produced.
The ingredients consists of the following chemicals: 4-tert-Butylcyclohexyl Acetate, Linalool, 2,4-Dimethyl-3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Benzyl Salicylate, (basically a list of chemical perfumes) which is what keeps the clothes smelling “fresh” for up to 12 weeks. According to One Seed, the volatile organic compounds from scented products creates just as much petrochemical air pollution in the atmosphere as the amount of petroleum burned as fuel, and it is also possible for any one of the 1,000 compounds within a synthetic scent to be a harmful carcinogen.
This scent booster has also received complaints from users experiencing skin irritation/rashes, migraines and allergic reaction triggers, on top of being potentially harmful to you as laundry waste-water can leak directly into the environment due to the flaws of water infrastructure. Although the majority goes to sewage treatment plants, some chemicals remain in the water after treatment which can contaminate the water system. This can be quite concerning as a scented chemical mixture like this one can be harmful to plants, animals, and aquatic life once it finds its way down the drain.
Despite the inherently toxic nature of the scent booster beads, the brand has definitely taken a step up when it comes to packaging. The packaging is quite minimal with just 3 main components: the body, a twist cap and a snap-fit cover. The Lenor transparent bottles are made of 100% recycled plastic and are fully recyclable. All transparent bottles use 100% Post Consumer Recycling Resin (PCR), a material that comes from recycled plastic product waste from consumers or businesses. The plastic used (PET) can be recycled many times before it becomes unusable, though contamination can reduce the number of ‘closed-loop’ cycles that PET can go through. A downside is that the brand has opted for a coloured bottle cap, which uses 50% PCR and although are still recyclable, when it comes to sorting, it becomes less valuable and are more likely to end up in landfill sites.
Another Earth point has been given to Lenor for committing to all its manufacturing sites sending “Zero Manufacturing Waste to Landfill” and use 100% Renewable Electricity in Western Europe.
The product is mainly focused on Europe and is manufactured in the UK, this is beneficial as the local manufacturing cuts down on the environmental cost of transportation of resources and distribution processes.
Although what could be found about how it is made sounds great for the environment, it is important to also note that it was very difficult to find much about their manufacturing and sourcing processes, and it would be even better if the brand was more transparent with this information so that it was more accessible to consumers.
With it’s parent company being Procter & Gamble (P&G) , it is great to see that they are taking initiative to make a change in their products and impact through their systems, brands and designs. P&G has an initiative called “Ambition 2030” that they have easily accessible on their website, and one of their goals as part of it is to make social and environmental responsibility an integral component of every brand in their portfolio, and they aim to do this by enabling and inspiring responsible consumption through their brands.
Their current goal for Lenor is to introduce 50% post-consumer resin into all transparent sizes in Europe, enabling the use of more than 2,700 tonnes of recycled plastic next year. Furthermore, P&G are shifting towards a more circular economy with the goal of refilling and reusing more bottles (especially in their P&G Beauty range with their refillable bottle system for shampoos), this is great and would be even better if they were able to look more into how they could integrate a similar system for their fabric-care products such as the Lenor Unstoppables range to extend the product life cycle.
Ambition 2030 is also emphasizing the importance of transparency with their ingredients and innovation, which is a great step in the right direction to ensure a more sustainable relationship with its consumers. P&G are definitely a great company that demonstrates ambition and action when it comes to addressing climate change as a brand that produces so many FMCGs (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods) that impact consumers all over the world on a daily basis. With their intentions being clear and comprehensive in their Ambition 2030 report, and their goal of reaching Net Zero by 2040 through a systems approach, the future of this company does look promising!
Aside from the environment-focused sustainability, P&G has also strived to integrate sustainability in the workplace through educating employees across all levels to ensure awareness of business sustainability plans and how they can embed social and environmental sustainability in the work they do, and rewarding progress in employee performance assessments to recognize significant contributions to advancing progress to their sustainability goals.