Spokane residents smuggle suds over green brands

The new bootlegging?

Spokane residents smuggle suds over green brands

SPOKANE, Wash. – The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don’t work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation’s strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.

But it’s not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe’s left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand. The culprit was hard water, which is mineral-rich and resistant to soap.

I can see it now. Roadblocks at the state border and searches of cars for bootleg detergent.


This is very interesting as I live about 2 hours south of Spokane. I have never heard of such a ban on detergent, and am surprised that a town like Spokane, not known for being extremely environmentalist.

As mundane as this sounds, I do know that the brand Elextrasol, which was my favorite, recently had a name change to “Finish” which does sound very familiar. I don’t know if they changed the “recipe” but they may have.

One tip for getting very clean dishes is simply to rinse them first, or soak them in very hot water with just a few drops of bleach. Then put them in the dishwasher to finish the job. I don’t like my new dishwasher for the simple fact that it take FOREVER to run a load. I can just imagine all the water it uses, unless all of the water is circulating.

I don’t think rinsing the dishes beforehand saves water. How is wasting water being environmentally sound? It is like the low flow toilets. So now you have to hold the handle down extra long to make sure everything flushes. Then the toilet gets plugged and now you get the plunger and then you have to flush again. After all this how much water did I actually save?

The article specifically said that importing or using phosphate detergents is not illegal. They simply can not be sold in Spokane County, Washington.

But since the real problem seems to be be the hard water of the area, why not install a water softener? It would be less of a hassle, and perhaps cheaper in the long run.

As of right now it is. You never know in the future. :cool:

I used to live outside Spokane, Washington.(Due to being married to a military man, I’ve lived everywhere:rolleyes:) It is a beautiful area of the country and I wish that I could return.

I wonder how this law got passed. Was the law sneaked past or was there a lot of press abou the law

Newer diswashers use very little water. Less than washing them by hand. The specs vary, and I don’t have them off the top of my head, but bought a dishwasher not too long ago. Check it out.

LOL less water more electricity because they run longer. :rolleyes: I need to make sure the water is super heated :rolleyes:(more electricity) and that every couple of washes we use high phosphate so the inside of the dishwasher gets sanitized and the drain lines don’t clog. Using bleach and other chemicals IMHO negates the use of Eco friendly dishwasher detergents.:shrug:

The enviros are in a pickle. Phosphates DO play a major role in eutrophication of lakes and slow flowing rivers. Ever seen a totally aglae encrusted pond? Yummy, huh? In most cases, you have lawn fertilizers and detergents to blame. Tree huggers aren’t ALWAYS wrong, you realize?

Trouble is that water softeners have major issues too, especially in areas that use septic systems. They rely on salt to recharge the softener zeolyte. Salt means chlorides in the system backwash water. Chlorides are fatal to a lot of plant species that live in wetlands where groundwater emerges and flows to streams.

Humans really DO have an impact. Too bad phony impacts like CO2 are drawing all the attention away from REAL and quantifiable impacts like surface water pollution issues such as these.

originally posted by manualman
In most cases, you have lawn fertilizers and detergents to blame.

How about doing away or at least limited lawn fertilizers and talk about waste of clean water, should we really do extensive watering of lawns.

I don’t think the Al Gore’s of this world want to give up their beautiful green lawns and that is why we never hear about lawn fertilizers and sprinkler systems.

No it is up to us at the bottom to do without even though we often live in smaller homes,etc.

Funny you should say that. I do land development for a living. Right now I’m actually working on a project adjacent to an endangered fen wetland and we have incorporated these very things into the project requirements. The builder must provide high efficiency front loading laundry units (20 gallons per load less than top loaders), low water use dishwashers, high efficiency water softeners (4,200 grains per pound of salt), no salt is allowed for roadway deicing (pricey calcium magnesium acetate instead), and all stormwater must be infiltrated into the ground instead of creating surface runoff. Fertilizer can only be applied in liquid form during the growing season in quantities based on soil analysis to virtually eliminate fertilizer runoff or groundwater intrusion. The community will also have a prescription drug disposal assistance program to eliminate flushing of drugs into the septic system.

The funny thing is that these extremely effective measures only add about 3-5% to the cost of homes compared to conventional measures.

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