Dishwashing powder in a box

Here’s an easy one: if you use an automatic dishwasher, use powdered detergent — packaged in a pasteboard box — instead of a gel in a plastic bottle or those plastic bags filled with those preportioned plastic pillows. (What exactly happens to the plastic that “disappears” in the wash cycle?)

I know, I know: I should be using something environmentally sensitive. But none I’ve tried has really ever worked well, most come in big plastic bottles and, if you have to wash something two or three times is it that good for the environment? For those reasons — and domestic tranquility — I’ll stick with the name brands.

Ah, but this a good opportunity for a little plastic reduction in the office. Many workplaces have dishwashers, and someone has to buy the detergent . . . .

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I read a consumer reports [or something like it] that said the best dishwashing detergent [and best value] was the Walmart brand powder. But some people don’t want to shop there… On a different note, I knew someone who used to put a little Tang [!] in with the detergent because it helped get there dishes clean or avoid spots or something.

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