Paper or Plastic? Take the Canvas Challenge! 100 billion disposable shopping bags are consumed every year in the US. This is 200,000 bags per minute, or about 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store for the average family. And of all those plastic bags, only 1% is recycled, while the remaining 99% pollute the environment, and harm wildlife when animals mistake them for food.
The U.S. book and newspaper industries combined necessitate the harvest of 125 million trees each year (30 million trees for the book industry and 95 million trees for the newspaper industry). Together, they emit more than 40 million metric tons of CO2 annually; that is the equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 7.3 million cars.
Hand washing your car can have a harmful impact on the environment. Not only are you using more water than necessary, but you are adding to the toxic chemicals in the run-off that leads directly to our oceans and waterways.There are a few car wash products out there that claim to be eco-friendly, waterless and effective. Washing your car without water? Yes, itâ€™s possible. We tested out one brand, Freedom Waterless Car Wash, and here are our results.
We tested out four different products, for the inside and the outside of a car:
-Â Â Â 2 Wax Original Formula is the companyâ€™s original product and is recommended for cleaning and polishing new and older cars; Â -Â Â Â Freedom ONE Super Polymer cleans and polishes all solid surfaces such as paint, glass, plastic and chrome. It is said to be used for weekly maintenance but we found it does pretty much the same job as the Original Formula; -Â Â Â Eco Tire Protectant, a product that cleans, shines and protects tires but also rubber, vinyl and leather surfaces; -Â Â Â Complete Clean, which is an all purpose cleaner that cleans grease, stuck-on bugs, bird droppings, as well as remove stains from soiled carpets and fabric.
All of these products are applied in the same fashion: spray on the surface (of a car, bike or boat), spray also on a microfiber towel, rub in, wipe off, and then buff off with another, clean microfiber towel. Depending on the type and size of vehicle washed, each 32 fluid ounce bottle can be used for 5-10 cleanings.
While initially skeptical, our JustLiveGreener car washers were quite pleased with the end results:
The Freedom One Super Polymer seemed to remove surface dirt and light dust quiet easily, leaving a shiny clean surface once buffed off;
Windows were left streakless and clean;
Using the Complete Clean product, various grease and pen stains on the floor mats and fabrics were completely gone;
The tires needed two heavy sprays to look shiny but the outcome was very satisfactory;
The microfiber cloths work wonders (much better than any cotton towel, we tried that!);
There was no strong, chemical smell hanging in the air inside the car, and most of them had a pleasant smell. However, one product, the Complete Clean, did give one of our testers a slightly irritated throat for a couple of days: we recommend this product be used with the car doors wide open.
The only possible downside to the cleaning process is that it required a bit more physical labor compared to simply washing down your car the traditional way, but the environmental (and physical) benefits far outweigh this small trouble.
Here's a short video provided by the manufacturer:
We donâ€™t know for sure what the ingredients are and that is a potential concern. The manufacturer, based in the state of Washington, told us they couldnâ€™t divulge their exact ingredients due to trade secrets. Only one product, ironically the Complete Clean again, specifies that it has no petroleum solvents, no VOC or any listed hazardous ingredients. As stated on the labels, these products are eco-friendlier, and greener, which does not necessarily mean they are completelyeco-friendly and green. They are chemical products, and chemical products pose, by nature, a potential health risk.
That being said, the products are apparently biodegradable, and their MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) reveals that these four products contain no chemicals known by the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Thatâ€™s more than what most conventional car wash products can say.
The Environmental Benefits
In spite of the absence of transparency regarding the ingredients, there is a substantial environmental advantage to using products such as Freedom Waterless Car Wash products:
No water used (except a minimal amount to manufacture the products themselves, of course). Considering that between 35 and 110 gallons of water are used with conventional commercial car washing and home car washing, waterless products represent indeed a great advantage.Â
No run-off: the product stays on the microfiber towels, which then gets washed with water that is eventually treated with the rest of the homeâ€™s greywater. Conventional car washing, on the other hand, contaminates surface waters as well as soil with phosphates, oil, grease, dust and lead as the water goes down the storm drain into rivers, lakes and oceans. Whatever chemicals are in conventional car wash products will find their way into waters where they will contaminate fish.Â
Eco-friendlier is better than not eco-friendly at all. The products are bottled in PET bottles, the most widely recycled plastic, another good point.Â
Bigger containersavailable: 1 gallon containers, five gallon buckets and concentrated formulas mean less packaging, and less waste.
Also, the prices are reasonable: $50 will get you 12 microfiber towels and one 32oz bottle of Freedom ONE, Original Formula & Tire Shine, and free shipping. Other sizes will sell at different prices.
Overall, we were pleased with the results of the waterless car wash line of products. We found it easy to use and effective at cleaning. There are clear environmental benefits of using such products, such as no toxic run-off and water conservancy. We give it a green thumbs up!
If you have already tried those products, or other waterless car wash products, drop us a line below and share your experience!
JustLiveGreener brings you in depth-information about environmental issues as well as tips for a greener, more eco-friendly way of living that respects nature while enhancing quality of life.