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Laundry products get new sustainability standard

January 24, 2013
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sustainabilityGreen Seal™, a non-profit environmental certification organization, has published a new standard designed specifically to address the life cycle impacts of laundry care products for institutional and industrial settings.

Traditional laundry products are significant contributors to water pollution, and both manufacturers and users risk exposure to harmful chemicals through inhalation and skin contact when using many of these products.

In addition to minimizing or eliminating the use of many hazardous ingredients often found in these products, the GS-51 standard provides an important benchmark in terms of product concentration. The standard establishes minimum requirements for concentrated (2X) and ultra-concentrated (4X) detergents and fabric softeners.

Fewer trucks on the road

“Research has shown that the environmental impact of these products can be reduced by concentrating the product, thereby minimizing its volume,” says Dr. Arthur Weissman, President and CEO of Green Seal. “Concentrated products use less packaging material and contain less water, meaning fewer pallets to transport, fewer trucks on the road, and less storage space needed. These improvements represent a smaller carbon footprint as well.”

The new Green Seal standard also focuses on product performance. A framework for performance testing was developed for the standard in cooperation with the laundry care industry. Certified products must demonstrate that they perform as well as leading laundry care products.

About 80 percent of the environmental impact of these products occurs during usage, so the standard requires that labels recommend using the proper amount, washing at the lowest possible temperature, and washing a full load.

GS-51 covers more than 20 categories of products for conventional laundry and dry cleaning, including detergents, prewash products, and spot removers; additives such as alkali boosters; and fabric care products such as anti-static treatment, starches, and fabric softeners.

Green Seal offers this new standard to manufacturers as a way to recognize leaders in the industry, and to give purchasers a way to identify safer, more environmentally preferable institutional laundry products.

More information about GS-51, including certification tools, application information, and the standard, can be downloaded for free at

About Green Seal

Green Seal is an independent, science-based standards developer and certification body that identifies products and services that are environmentally responsible and provides public education for creating a more sustainable world.

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