Is Ajax dish soap biodegradable? (13 ingredients of Ajax dish soap)

In this article, the biodegradability of Ajax dish soap will be assessed. Other topics covered will be: 

  • What is Ajax dish soap?
  • What materials are used to make dish soaps?
  • What is biodegradability and why does it matter?
  • Is Ajax dish soap biodegradable?
  • Why is biodegradability different from eco-friendliness?
  • Is Ajax dish soap actually good?
  • What are other examples of eco-friendly dish soaps?
  • FAQs

Is Ajax dish soap biodegradable?

Ajax dish soap is biodegradable because it is made from natural ingredients with little to no harmful impacts on health and the environment. 

However, some ingredients of Ajax dish soap do put the environment at risk such as methylisothiazolinone and dioxane. 

But, the non-inclusion of commonly found harmful materials (like triclosan or formaldehyde)  that are present in conventional dish soaps is commendable.

What is Ajax dish soap?  (13 ingredients of Ajax dish soap)

Ajax dish soap is an American-based brand that produces dish soaps and cleaning detergents. It is manufactured by Colgate-Palmolive. Ajax dish soap was introduced to the market in 1947.

The ingredients that makeup Ajax dish soap are: 

  • Water 
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate 
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulphate 
  • Ammonium C12-15 Alkyl Sulphate
  • Ammonium C12-15 Pareth Sulphate
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Lauramidopropylamine Oxide
  • Poloxamer 124
  • Pentasodium Pentelate
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Benzothiazolinone
  • Colourants
  • Fragrances 

These are the ingredients that are responsible for the utilitarian functions of Ajax dish soap. However, there is a lot to be unravelled by what materials make up a product. The same will be the case for Ajax dish soap. 

In the remaining sections, these ingredients will be assessed with scrutiny and their biodegradability will be analysed as well. 

What materials are used to make dish soaps generally?

For a comparative perspective, let us explore the common ingredients found in most of the commercially available dish soaps. We will also rummage a bit around their pros and cons. 

The ingredients that are generally used to make dish soap include: 

  • Cocamide DEA
  • DMDM Hydantoin 
  • Ethanolamine 
  • Formaldehyde 
  • Propylene Glycol 
  • Sodium Borate 
  • Sulphuric Acid
  • Triclosan
  • Sodium Xylene Sulfonate 

These chemicals that are generally used to manufacture dish soaps are associated and linked with a number of health and environmental issues. 

These issues may include: 

  • Aquatic toxicity 
  • Chemical releases
  • Lungs issues
  • Skin irritation 
  • Skin allergies
  • Neurological issues 
  • Cancers
  • Damage to foetus 
  • Effects on hormones
  • Neurotoxicity 

What is biodegradability & why does it matter?

In order to build any stance on the biodegradability of Dawn dish soaps, it is important to know what biodegradability is in the first place. More than that, the importance of biodegradability is also of increased interest and shall be covered. 

Biodegradation can be defined as the process through which complex materials are broken down into simpler materials through various mediators (time, microbes) so that those simple materials may be consumed leaving no wastes. 

With the increased impacts and strain on the environment, the check of whether a material is biodegradable or not has become more important than ever. If material is biodegradable then it implies lesser waste and hence lower strain on the environment. 

However, if a material is not biodegradable readily, it will take hundreds of years for that particular material to degrade. In that case, the strain on the environment and solid waste management will increase tenfolds. 

When it comes to biodegradability, the rule of thumb is that man-made materials such as plastics et cetera are not biodegradable since they are synthetic. They accumulate in the environment such as water bodies, and disposal sites and toxicate the environment.

However, naturally occurring material which does not contain any synthetic elements can readily biodegrade within months and hence would not cause any strain to the environment or the waste management authorities. 

The current waste generation stands at roughly 2 billion tons. This implies that an average person is responsible for about 5 kgs of waste on a daily basis. 

Much of this waste is not disposed of properly which causes direct impacts on human health and the environment. It is studied that more than 40% of total waste produced ends up in open dumps and is not processed at all. 

As per the statistical findings, the soap consumer market stood at a whopping 132 billion US dollars in 2020 and is expected to rise up to 150 billion dollars. Global soap production is flabbergasting. 

As per the research, the global soap production in 2020 stood at 100 million tons. China was the biggest consumer of soap standing at 22 million tons. 

In 2019, the global market for dishwashing soaps was at 18 billion dollars. This asserts how many of these soaps are made globally because everyone needs to do the kitchen. 

These figures speak out for themselves why the need for biodegradable soaps is so important. If non-biodegradable soaps are consumed and preferred, it implies that an infinite amount of waste is generated which is toxic and hazardous for the environment and eventually humans.

Is Ajax dish soap biodegradable?

After an analysis of what biodegradability is, it can be summed up that products that are made from natural materials are biodegradable. Whereas products that are not made from natural materials, rather non-natural materials are involved, such products are non-biodegradable. 

Such non-biodegradable products are known to cause a lot of harm to the environment and life in general. Common examples of non-biodegradable products include e-waste, nuclear waste, synthetic polymers, synthetic resins, synthetic fibres, hazardous substances, et cetera. 

This waste can not be degraded by the action of microbes and therefore, may persist in the environment for a very long time. However, the problem is not just the accumulation of waste but also the effects that are caused by this accumulated waste. 

Research has unveiled that non-biodegradable products are known to cause a lot of harm to the environment. Some major examples of these effects can be: 

  • Pollution 
  • Global warming
  • Loss of life
  • Species endangerment 
  • Toxicity 
  • Disruption of food chains
  • Disruptions of aquatic ecosystems

If we talk about Ajax dish soap, we see that most of its ingredients are sourced from nature and therefore, Ajax dish soap can be termed biodegradable. 

Every dish soap has some important ingredients that are very essential to the overall functionality of that dish soap. These may include: 

  • Surfactants
  • Solvents
  • Preservatives
  • Softeners 
  • Colourants 
  • pH adjuster 

In the case of Ajax dish soap, most of these ingredients are derived from plants instead of chemical synthesis and therefore, we can say that Ajax dish soap is biodegradable. 

However, being biodegradable does not ensure eco-friendliness. There are a number of factors that might create gaps between biodegradability and eco-friendliness. 

Why is biodegradability different from eco-friendliness?

We have seen that Ajax dish soap is biodegradable because it is made from plant-derived materials. However, it does not necessarily mean that Ajax dish soap is absolutely safe for humans and the environment. 

For a product to be completely safe and eco-friendly, it is important that it must be manufactured, used and disposed of in the right ways.  If that does not happen, Ajax dish soap will still be harmful and can not be termed as eco-friendly. 

As an example, consider the manufacture of Ajax dish soap. Let us say that Ajax dish soap is made in excessive quantities. This implies that stress will be put on the plant sources that are utilised to make Ajax dish soap. 

This may also mean that unsustainable means may be opted to meet these needs. This also included the use of agrochemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides.  

The materials used to make Ajax dish soap are also one of the factors that create this rift. Although most of the materials are regarded as safe, it is very important that their minimal quantities are used and exposed. 

For example, Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate is regarded as safe and no harmful effects of the said substance are recorded. But it is advised that sustainable quantities of Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate must be used to ensure there is no risk or threat. 

As per the American Society of Contact Dermatitis, the presence of Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate even in very small amounts (less than 1%) can cause skin issues and hence can not be termed as safe for health. 

Is Ajax dish soap actually good?

It has been seen that the manufacturers of Ajax dish soap have taken into account a lot of green considerations. These include: 

  • No phosphates 
  • No triclosan
  • No phthalates 
  • Use of many natural ingredients 

However, unfortunately, Ajax dish soap can not be called eco-friendly because many factors and obstructions still lie in the way of complete eco-friendliness. These factors are researched to be: 

  • The use of chemicals such as methylisothiazolinone and dioxane can cause health issues such as skin irritation, allergies, eye infections
  • Use of chemicals that can pollute groundwater
  • Loss of aquatic life as the chemicals used in Ajax dish soap can harm the fishes ecosystem 
  • Use of ingredients that may be toxic to the environment 
  • Use of materials that may be non-biodegradable and hence remain for a very long time in the environment 
  • Use of chemicals that may damage the liver or cause neuro-related anomalies
  • Use of non-biodegradable packaging material 
  • Use of chemicals that may cause cancer and organ defects 

What are other examples of eco-friendly dish soaps?

You may also wonder what are some commercially available alternatives to Ajax dish soap that you might consider in a case that you can not get your hands on the former.

These examples include: 

  • Blueland dish soap
  • Ecos Dish soap
  • Dawn dish soap
  • Attitude dish soap
  • Meliora Dish soap 
  • Castille dishwashing kit 
  • Cleancult
  • Dropps 
  • Public goods 
  • Three main 

These are some of the commercially available eco-friendly dish soaps that avoid the use of: 

  • Colourants
  • Ethoxylated ingredients 
  • Fragrances 
  • Harmful preservatives 

This is because the presence of these chemicals has been researched to cause environmental degradation and risks to human health and to other species. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that Ajax dish soap is biodegradable because it is made from natural ingredients with little to no harmful impacts on health and the environment. 

However, some ingredients of Ajax dish soap do put the environment at risks such as methylisothiazolinone and dioxane. 

But, the non-inclusion of commonly found harmful materials (like triclosan or formaldehyde)  that are present in conventional dish soaps is worth appreciation. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Ajax dish soap biodegradable?

Does Ajax dish soap cause cancer?

No, it does not contain formaldehyde which is a known carcinogen in various dish soaps. 

Is Ajax dish soap bad for the environment?

Yes, the inclusion of some ingredients like methylisothiazolinone and dioxane are known to cause harm to man and the environment. 

References

Amos, C., Allred, A., & Zhang, L. (2017). Do biodegradable labels lead to an eco-safety halo effect?. Journal of Consumer Policy, 40(3), 279-298.

Faulkner, N., & Peterson, J. M. (2018). Biodegradability and You. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

Sandefur, C., Ward, M., & Pedersen, P. (2016). The Effects of Dish Soap on Plant Development. In Proceedings of the Plant Biology Symposium (Vol. 1, No. 1).

Wang, K. The Best Non-Toxic Dish Soaps. Retrieved from: https://www.becausehealth.org/non-toxic-dish-soaps-2557006348.html

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