Sustainable Behavior Change: Reducing Energy Consumption
About 75% of US households do some type of pre-rinsing behavior before putting dishes in the dishwasher.
When I was in 7th grade, my family got our first recycling bin and I was excited to "save the planet" from the comfort of our own home. While I noticed some use of the bin, the fact was that my family didn't really want to change. How would we save the planet if we didn't want to change our behavior?
Fortunately, my 7th grade guidance counselor had the answer. He suggested I become a chemical engineer so I could obtain a career where I could make a positive and significant impact on the environment. Fast forward 13 years into my tenure at P&G when I became the products research section head for the Cascade automatic dishwashing brand, taking me back to the same challenges of behavior change I first experienced in 7th grade—enabling meaningful behavior change at home so families can live more sustainably.
For convenience, most of us use the dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand. We might think this is tougher on the environment, but it can actually be a sustainable behavior. When it comes to using consumer products, many people correctly assume that doing laundry and taking showers are some of the main sources of energy consumption.
According to a P&G study though, the next highest in home use of energy is hand dish washing. That's at least in part because modern automatic dishwashing machines often use less water than washing by hand. Depending on how your water is heated, using less water can mean using less energy to heat the water.
However, there's a way to further drive the environmental benefit and use even less water that we're continually working to perfect through our compact, single unit-dose detergent. These concentrated pacs eliminate the need to pre-rinse dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. This is a habit change for most people - about 75% of US households do some type of pre-rinsing behavior before putting dishes in the dishwasher. When we test our unit-dose products with consumer relevant food soils in our laboratory, we only scrape and never rinse so that we ensure they hold up to this promise. These innovative pacs are four times more concentrated than our powders and gels and contain powerful enzymes, allowing you to skip the pre-wash and save up to 2,600 gallons of water per year (based on an average of 12.5 gallons of pre-washing water used and average of four loads per week). Once you stop the pre-rinsing habit, you won't go back!
The unit dose pacs are also easier to use, less messy, and weigh less than powders or gels. Just one pac in the main wash cup of your automatic dishwasher and you are on your way to clean dishes.
By being simple to use and delivering a powerful clean result without pre-rinsing, these pacs help all of us enjoy the convenience of a dishwasher without compromising clean dishes or our own sustainability goals. 25 years later, I guess my 7th grade guidance counselor was right!
Jon Powell, Cascade research and development section head
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