P&G makes headway on sustainable cleaning innovation

TideThere’s potential for improved cleaning performance in cold water conditions with detergents containing a patented branched surfactant, researchers from global manufacturer P&G revealed last week.

Presentations from Tide Research Fellow Phillip Vinson, PhD, and Tide Senior Scientist Patrick Stenger at the 22nd International Symposium on Surfactants in Solution detailed the company’s progress on research into sustainability innovations for its Tide laundry detergent.

“Cleaning in cold water presents significant challenges. Common food greases can harden and become adhesive when they’re washed in cold water,” said Vinson and Stenger.  “With synthetic fibres like polyester, which make up nearly two-thirds of the world’s textiles, it’s even worse. Because they are hydrophobic, synthetic fibres stick to food greases, making them even more difficult to remove in cold water.

“Precise and sophisticated design of our surfactant molecules, down to the specific carbon chain lengths and positioning of branches on that chain, shows potential for impressive stain-fighting power in different types of washing machines and settings. And these branched surfactants are highly biodegradable, which is a definite bonus.”

P&G first implemented its 2020 Environmental Goals back in 2010, and has since reduced absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 16 per cent, reduced water use in manufacturing facilities by 27 per cent and achieved zero manufacturing waste to landfill for more than 80 per cent of manufacturing sites.

Mary Begovic Johnson, Tide senior scientific communications manager, said that enabling lower energy washing plays an important part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re committed to designing detergents that deliver a superior Tide clean in cold water conditions so consumers don’t have to choose between clean clothes and being environmentally conscious,” she said in a statement.

In addition, P&G shared developments on alternatives to petrochemical-derived surfactants, based on bio-materials and recycled plastics, for Tide and other P&G brands. These efforts are key to P&G’s commitment to meeting the sustainable surfactant needs of the future.

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