Proctor & Gamble's 'Future Friendly' Program is set to expand into the United States. Already operational in the UK and Canada, Future Friendly is a multi-brand initiative aimed at educating consumers on the ways they can reduce waste, water and energy by making smarter purchases for everyday home products.
The Future Friendly media push will begin March 29 and Future Friendly labeled products will begin appearing on shelves in April. Over 15,000 retailers will participate in the initiative's initial phase, which I take to mean they will stock their shelves with FF-labeled products.
Which products will get the Future Friendly label? The press release out of P & G named a few, including Tide, Pampers, PUR and Duracell (all part of P & G's family of products). How does a product "earn" the label? Tide's "Coldwater" detergent gets the label because it has been formulated to clean clothes using only cold water, which saves energy.
I wonder if the Kleenex Hand Towel will get the Future Friendly label. Probably not. That's a Kimberly-Clark product.
I'm all for educating consumers on the ways they can find the most environmentally-friendly everyday household items when doing the weekly shopping, but I have to play the cynic for just a second. A company slaps a "good for the environment" label on their own products and we're to just take their word and buy it? Where's the third party testing and verification?
In their defense, P & G does have a track record for sustainability, and their goal of consumer education on the matter of sustainability is backed up by the findings in an Ipsos Public Affairs "Consumer Conservation Survey," which found, among other things, that "37% of consumers cited a lack of enough information about what to do as the top reason preventing people from leading a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle." Future Friendly's answer to those 37%? Buy Proctor & Gamble brands.
Will you be looking for the Future Friendly label the next time you're shopping?
Do you have a high-efficiency front-loading washing machine? If so, be on the lookout for mold. This recently-published MSNBC.com piece investigates the increased likelihood of mold growth in front-loaders. Unlike top loaders, which see most water evaporate after a cycle, front loaders experience water collection, particularly on the rubber gasket around the glass window. And all those advanced physics students will recall Einstein's lesser known theory of mold-time continuum: H₂O + Rubber = Mold˛.
Certain washing habits don't help the problem, either. The use of less bleach and cold water cycles can contribute to mold growth, which leads to stinky washing machines, stinky laundry rooms and stinky homes.
The battle over clotheslines got a little more heated with the introduction of Senate Bill 1338 in Hawaii. The bill would prevent any rules written to prevent homeowners from using clotheslines on their property. On one side of the debate are groups like Project Laundry List that argues the use of clotheslines reduces electrical use in drying clothes. On the other side of the argument are people who feel clotheslines negatively affect a community's look and hurt property values. Where do you stand on the issue?
Do you have stinky pants? It might be your washer if Smelly Washer is to be believed. Apparently, detergents and fabric softeners can build up in the washer and create a foul odor. I didn't believe it until I asked around the office and a co-worker reported that it happened to him. Smelly Washer is a liquid washing machine cleaner. Simply add the mixture to your washer with your next load of laundry, and the smell is gone! Smelly Washer can be ordered on the manufacturer's web site.
Here's a trick I've never thought of. According to this tip from a self-proclaimed insider, companies that make cleaning products sometimes get you to use more of their products by increasing the size of the cap used for measuring. Watch out for this when using laundry detergent or dishwasher soap that says, use one capful as the measurement. A slightly larger cap is hard to detect and will cause you to use the product more quickly. Although I can't vouch for the veracity of this claim, you can always save yourself money by using less than the recommended amount. And if you're in for some fun, track the size of the cap and let us know if you see any changes.
There are some chores some people just won't do. In my case, it's ironing. I'll take out the trash, I'll clean a toilet, but I hate, hate, hate ironing. In fact, I don't think I've ever ironed something without my wife's supervision. Mostly it is because I'm terrified of accidentally burning the clothes. But I might reconsider this if I had an Oliso Steam Iron. The Oliso features an automatic mechanism that lifts the iron off the stand when the grip is released. The instant you take your hand off the grip, the iron lifts itself off the clothes, eliminating the risk of scorching the fabric. There is no need to turn it onto it's end, the iron always stays in a stable horizontal position. The iron also turns itself off after 8 minutes if it is not touched during that time, preventing a significant fire hazard. Due to its superior design, it can increase ironing efficiency by 30%. There are two models, retailing for $119 and $129. The Oliso website has a store locator and the iron can be purchased online.
Okay, I'll admit it—I'm just loving these laundry wars! LG Electronics has come out with the LG Tromm Steam Washer, a first in the effort to reduce water usage while using technology to get clothes cleaner. A steam chamber heats the water and feeds steam into the 4.0 cubic foot capacity wash drum. Steam washing is purported to get clothes cleaner and remove laundering agents more effectively than traditional, water-wasting cycles, but there are nine washing options, including combination water and steam cycles. A steam-only option lets you freshen clothes and remove wrinkles in just 20 minutes, and a remote monitoring device can go with you and keep you updated on your laundry. This strikes me as real progress, granted at a relatively high price. The Energy Star-rated washer starts at $1,500. Check out the video for more info, it's worth a peek.