Students Engaged with Eco Defense (SEED) is partnering with hygiene-focused initiative Generation Conscious to bring plastic and liquid-free laundry detergent sheets to campus. Students who sign up for the program through SEED can access 10 laundry detergent sheets at a time for no cost from a small machine they plan to have in Templeton Student Center by the end of September.
According to Generation Conscious’ website, the initiative aims to “eliminate hygiene insecurity,” “reduce plastic and water-waste” and “disengagement from harmful structures of product distribution.” The initiative focuses mainly on producing low-waste hygiene products and working with colleges and universities to have laundry detergent sheets available.
Most laundry detergents sold in stores contain mostly water, and come in large plastic bottles or boxes. Overall, they have a large carbon footprint, from both manufacture and transportation. Laundry detergent sheets work similarly to laundry pods, where you put the sheet in the barrel of the washing machine with the clothes. According to Generation Conscious’ website, detergent sheets use “95% Less Carbon and 97% Less Water than leading pod detergents.”
Mateo Kaiser ’23 has been involved with moving this initiative forward on campus as a part of SEED, and explained how this new partnership will impact LC’s eco-friendliness.
“The sheets are super, super concentrated detergent, (and) they’re wrapped in paper packages,” Kaiser said. “You just add this really concentrated sheet of detergent and it dissolves and becomes the soap in the machine. You save emissions in the transport and in the plastic packaging.”
Kaiser expressed the importance of having the detergent refills available at the beginning of the academic year, so that students can build using them into their college routines. He also explained that distribution of detergent sheets helps to offset the carbon footprint of the machine itself.
“I think we have to first dispense 4,000 sheets, and then we basically paid off the carbon debt of the machine,” Kaiser said. “We’re hoping that with enthusiastic use, we reach that very quickly. And then from there, it’s all just carbon savings over buying regular regular detergent.”
Generation Conscious is in the process of hiring student workers to help promote and maintain the machine. Kaiser said there has already been a high number of applicants from LC.
SEED is largely funding the machine through their own student organization budget and some financial support from the Queer Student Union. They will have enough money to fund upkeep of the machine for the next several years, and Kaiser hopes it will soon be built into SEED’s regular operating budget.
Community members can sign up using the link in SEED’s Instagram bio, @lcseed. The form requires the applicant’s LC email address, phone number and indication of either class year or faculty/staff status.