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Washing at lower temperatures – How can formulation ingredients contribute to sustainability?

corresponding

THOMAS GREINDL
BASF SE
Ludwigshafen, Germany

Abstract

The life cycle assessment of the washing process from cradle to grave shows that most energy is consumed during use and temperature reduction is a main lever to improve sustainability of the process. Likewise new additives should be developed that improve performance of current products at lower temperatures. Methods for the assessment of sustainability, like the eco-efficiency analysis of new products are given. Key building blocks of laundry detergents are discussed and their impact on performance is described. Major challenges to overcome are pointed out and ways to improve performance at low temperatures are shown. Examples for improvement of some of the key ingredients are provided.


INTRODUCTION

How can we improve the sustainability of the laundry process, a fundamental process that is done millions and millions of times every day? Washing of laundry is a process done for hundreds of years. As it allows the repeated use of fabrics, ensures health and wellbeing and therefore is an essential aspect of modern societies and per se is a sustainable process. Today’s performance and convenience of the process have reached very high levels and the impact on the environment has drastically decreased, due to the introduction of washing machines, but also by means of the applied chemistries as well as optimized resource use. Nevertheless the process still is very energy intensive, consumes noticeable amounts of water and produces waste, thus sustainability is an ongoing topic, where continuous improvement is necessary.

SUSTAINABILITY
The sustainability expression is used in different contexts to describe the impact of products and processes on the environment, economy and society. From our point of view a clear definition of sustainability as a scientific approach is mandatory and should be applied uniformly ...




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