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
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy