Since the founding of Blueland, we knew laundry to be one of the largest ways we could make a positive impact on the environment because it’s the most purchased category in cleaning. As we began to explore different product formats, we were shocked by how many industry insiders we met believed that PVA/PVOH’s complete biodegradability is unproven.
We learned that technically there are certain types of bacteria that, if actually present under specific conditions, can biodegrade Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA/PVOH), the plastic that wraps traditional laundry and dishwasher pacs. However, these bacteria would need to be exposed to PVA for at least a couple days longer than the PVA typically spends in a wastewater treatment plant.
It wasn’t clear at all whether such conditions are met in practice at wastewater treatments plants or in the natural environment. To us, it didn’t matter whether these pacs were biodegradable only under very specific conditions, if they were not actually fully biodegrading in most likely end-of-life scenarios. Unfortunately, this information was not readily available and there was limited research on their end-of-life outcomes.
So we partnered with scientists from Plastic Oceans International to commission the first study of its kind. The researchers set out to analyze and estimate how much PVA is being biodegraded in typical wastewater treatment plants in the US and how much is released back into our oceans, rivers and canals. Their findings were concerning and we believe it’s critical for this research to be shared with consumers.
We’re excited to launch our naked, PVA-free laundry tablets and to continue our work to better understand PVA and its impacts on our planet. Thank you for your support in our mission to eliminate single-use plastic packaging – in all its forms – from everyday household products.