6 H & PC Today -HouseholdandPersonalCareToday- vol.14(5)September/October2019 HOMECARE:LAUNDRYANDCLEANING HALEY R. GERSHON Beta Analytic, Miami, FL, USA Plant-based cleaning products The growing preference for products free of petrochemical-based ingredients has led manufacturers to focus on developing plant-based cleaning supplies. In a global survey focusing on cleaning product preference in 2015, responses indicate evidence of consumers opting for eco-friendly products. Out of more than 30,000 consumers surveyed, 26% favored cleaning products comprised of natural ingredients, while 24% of respondents noted the importance of environmental-friendly packaging of cleaning products (1). More specifically within the United States, a 2016 study reveals that 22% of consumers seek natural ingredients within household cleaning products (2). Carbon-14 analysis: biobased versus petrochemical- derived ingredients Third-party laboratories are necessary for identifying whether or not product content is primarily plant-based. Carbon-14 testing for products like laundry detergents assures consumers that biobased labels truly represent product composition and is used to differentiate plant- sourced ingredients from petrochemical-derived components (3). This is due to the presence of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 in all living organisms, thus present in biomass (biobased) material. After the death of a living organism, the carbon-14 starts to decay at a rate of 5,730 years, and once material is approximately 50,000 years or older, it is devoid of carbon-14. Therefore, in order to measure the amount of carbon-14 content present in a product, radiocarbon dating is used, in which an accelerator mass spectrometer counts the number of carbon-14 present. Biobased-derived products will contain carbon-14 content whereas products derived wholly from fossil fuels will not since the carbon-14 in a product comes from the biobased component. Carbon-14 test results are reported as percent biobased content: a product that is completely derived from petroleum ingredients will have a 0% biobased content, a product that is made of only biomass material will be 100% biobased content, and a product that is a mixture of petroleum sources and biomass sources will have a result that ranges between 0% and 100% biobased content (4). INTRODUCTION As eco-friendly initiatives are increasingly widespread, consumers are drawn towards products comprised of biobased ingredients: ingredients comprised of biomass resources such as plant-based or animal-based sources. In response, manufacturers are continuously shifting away from petroleum-based products and are replacing the petrochemical synthetic ingredients with plant- derived alternatives. Within the household cleaning supplies industry, the preference for biobased laundry detergent thrives as plant-based products are perceived as more compatible with eco-friendly lifestyles. In order for manufacturers to demonstrate their use of biobased ingredients, carbon-14 analysis through third-party laboratories has been a popular option for over a decade. Results from carbon-14 testing allow manufacturers to prove they meet the minimum percentage biobased content required to be eligible for biobased certifications. Globally, biobased certification schemes incentivize the use of biomass- sourced ingredients by enabling manufacturers to label their products with eco-labels. Biobased laundry detergents Consumer preference for eco-friendly products is rising. In response, manufacturers are shifting away from the use of petrochemical- derived ingredients in household cleaning products such as laundry detergents, and are moving toward the use of biobased-derived ingredients. This article highlights the need for carbon-14 analysis to measure the amount of biobased content comprising laundry detergent product ingredients. Depending on the percentage of biobased content determined through carbon-14 testing, products may be eligible to receive biobased certifications and eco-labels, which can be displayed on a product’s label. ABSTRACT KEYWORDS: Laundry detergent, biobased, carbon-14, ASTM D6866, eco-label, home care. Figure 1. Operator loading samples into an accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS). Photo from Beta Analytic.