In a study presented here today at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), Cara A.M. Bondi and colleagues described their analysis of more than a dozen samples of commercial liquid laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, and hand washes.
“Not all carbon is created equal –– carbon originating from petroleum is clearly not from a renewable resource. No one can dispute that we need to use less petroleum and consumer products are no exception,” Bondi said.
With no legal or standard definitions of sustainable, natural, or renewable, she and her colleagues used an indisputable scientific indicator: Where did the carbon in these products originate? Did it come from plants or from petrochemicals produced synthetically from petroleum? To answer that question, Bondi’s team turned to a variation of the famous carbon-14 dating technique — used to analyze carbon in ancient bone, cloth, and other artifacts.
The products tested showed significant variation in plant-derived carbon content: hand washes ranged from 28%-97%, liquid laundry detergents from 28%-94% and dishwashing liquids from 43%-95%. The research also revealed that all of the products tested that are positioned in the consumer market as “green” contained over 50% more plant-based carbon on average than product samples tested without such positioning. “Some of the other findings, however, were a surprise” Bondi said. “The plant-derived carbon content of the product samples tested was largely inconsistent with some of the content claims made on packaging. For example, a liquid laundry detergent that makes the claim ‘petrochemical free’ contained only 69% plant-based carbon, meaning that 31% of the carbon in this sample is, in fact, petroleum-derived.”
“For the samples tested, our results clearly indicate that even though “green” claims are made on package labels or in advertisements, these claims are not necessarily an indication of where the carbon in these products is coming from,” Bondi added.
“Carbon derivation is the cornerstone of sustainability and, as such, understanding the ratio of plant-derived versus petroleum-derived carbon is critical for both consumer product manufacturers and raw material suppliers who are trying to minimize petrochemical use,” Bondi said. “While radiocarbon dating is commonly used by archeologists to determine the age of artifacts, this method has not customarily been used to understand the renewable carbon content of consumer products. We show that consumer product manufacturers who desire to use less petroleum can incorporate radiocarbon dating per ASTM D6866-10 as a method to verify the renewable carbon content of raw materials and finished products, as well as measure the sustainability and renewability improvements of formulation development efforts.”
The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
Michael Bernstein | Newswise Science News
Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals
21.02.2018 | University of Chicago
The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally
21.02.2018 | Technische Universität München
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Life Sciences
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences