Is Ariel biodegradable? (9 types of ingredients in Ariel detergent) 

In this article, the biodegradability of Ariel detergent will be discussed. Other topics covered will be: 

  • What is Ariel detergent?
  • What materials are used to make Ariel detergent?
  • What are the common ingredients in the majority of laundry detergents?
  • What are the health and environmental risks of laundry detergents?
  • What is biodegradability?
  • What are the examples of biodegradable and nonbiodegradable waste?
  • Is Ariel detergent biodegradable?
  • FAQs

Is Ariel biodegradable?

Ariel detergent is not biodegradable because it contains non-biodegradable materials like anionic and nonionic surfactants and substances such as Polyethylene glycol and polyester.  

However, the production of Ariel is approaching sustainability and eco-friendliness. Steps such as recycled packaging, use of renewable resources, and consumption of less water are examples of such endeavours. 

What is ariel detergent?

Ariel is a laundry detergent that is used for washing clothes. It was introduced in 1967. The introduction of Ariel detergent happened after the innovation of homeware washing machines.

The producers of Ariel detergent proudly claim 50 years of revolutionary development and growth not only in terms of functionality but also in terms of sustainability. 

With increased environmental awareness and greater proclivity toward the ‘eco-friendly’, the producers of Ariel detergent made sure that they remain ahead in this line. 

Results? A plethora of initiatives was centred around colouring as much green as possible in the logo and operations of Ariel. It was the result of these efforts that Ariel introduced recycled packaging material.

Also, the producers made sure the production process of Ariel detergent is done by using 100% renewable resources while making sure there is zero waste in landfill. 

The production facilities also claim to be using less amounts of water and electricity as compared to past scales. 

However, while sustainability is an important factor for us, the main target of this article is to assess whether Ariel detergent is biodegradable or not. For this, let us dive into the ingredients that are used to make Ariel detergent.  

What materials are used to make Ariel detergent? (9 types of ingredients in Ariel detergent) 

Almost all laundry detergents are made from some common ingredients which are involved in various functionalities of the detergent. These may be: 

  • Surfactants
  • pH adjusters
  • Colourants
  • Viscosity builders
  • Water 
  • Enzymes 
  • Fragrances 
  • Cleaning aid
  • Preservatives 

As per its website of Ariel, it uses a whole lot of various chemicals and enzymes to achieve its utilitarian function of it. The surfactants used in Ariel detergents are: 

  • Anionic modified polyester
  • C14-15 Pareth-n
  • Copolymer of PEG
  • Dodecylbenzene Sulfonic Acid
  • Laureth-7
  • MEA Dodecylbenzenesulfonate
  • MEA-Palm Kernelate
  • MEA-Laureth Sulphate
  • PEG-2 Stearate
  • PEG-6 Methyl Ether
  • Sodium C12-15 Pareth Sulphate
  • Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate
  • Sodium Palm Kernelate
  • Sodium Sulphate

The enzymes used in Ariel detergents are: 

  • Amylase
  • Cellulase
  • Lyase
  • Mannanase
  • Pectolyase
  • Protease

Examples of solvents used in said detergents are: 

  • Alcohol
  • Ethanolamine
  • Ethanol 

Ariel detergents also make use of various stabilisers, fragrances and cleaning aids and preservatives. These may be: 

  • Bentonite (cleaning aid) 
  • C14-15 Pareth-7 (cleaning aid) 
  • Benzyl Salicylate (fragrance) 
  • Chloride (stabiliser) 
  • Citronellol (fragrance) 
  • Dimethicone (coating agent) 
  • Glycerin (thickener) 

It can thus be summed up as Ariel detergent is made from a variety of chemicals, enzymes, surfactants, thickeners, stabilisers, fragrances, and colourants. The nature of these substances will be covered in the future sections of the article. 

What are common ingredients in the majority of laundry detergents?

After we have analysed what ingredients are used in Ariel detergents. Let us rummage over the ingredients used to make most of the laundry detergents. It will enable us to a comparative perception. These can generally be classified as: 

  • Alkalies 
  • Surfactants
  • Anti redospiting agents
  • Colourants
  • Catalytic enzymes 
  • Functional materials 
  • Fragrance  

Alkalis are used to neutralise the acidity so that dirt, grease and stains can be removed from the fabric without excessive effort. Alkali substances can be mild to high strengths based on the type of detergent. 

Examples of alkali substances are baking soda, borax, ammonia, trisodium phosphate, caustic soda, lye, and washing soda. These chemicals may be toxic for humans when taken up. These chemicals are also known to cause harm to the environment. 

Surfactants are one of the most important ingredients used in laundry detergents. They are responsible for the breakage of stains and the suspension of dirt. Examples may include alkyl sulphates, alkyl ethoxylate sulphates, ethers or fatty alcohol. 

These chemicals are also associated with detrimental impacts on human health and the environment and that is why care should be imparted in using laundry detergents because inapt use may reciprocate into unhealthy or even fatal circumstances. 

Some of the functional materials used in laundry detergents can be:

  • pH adjusters (to maintain the pH and neutralise) 
  • Water conditioners (for the management of hard water)
  • Optical brighteners (used as an alternative to bleach) 
  • Preservatives (to deter microbial contamination and growth) 

Enzymes are also very important components of a typical laundry detergent. Examples of enzymes used are protease, amylase, cellulase, lipase, and pectinase. All these enzymes break various dirt elements of clothes such as grease, stain or dirt. 

The use of chemical enzymes has increased the utilitarian value of laundry detergents because before more detergents were used and at specific conditions of temperatures. 

Fragrances and colourants are used to add a good scent to laundry detergents and eventually the clothes while also making the clothes’ colour quite fervent. 

Therefore, it can be summed up that the story of laundry detergents started with natural substances such as lye, but with increased use and greater demand, many synthetic interventions were adopted for laundry detergents.

As a result, the utilitarian value of laundry detergents increased but also at the cost of our environment and human health. 

What are the health & environmental risks of laundry detergents?

Most conventional laundry detergents that are made from harmful chemicals may have many detrimental impacts on the environment and human health. These may be: 

  • Skin allergy 
  • Necrosis in skin or tissue
  • Breathing complications 
  • Throat issues
  • Altered blood pressure 
  • Loss of vision 
  • Burning sensations 
  • Nausea 

Among the harmful effects on the environment, there are: 

  • Water pollution 
  • Loss of life 
  • Depletion of oxygen availability in water bodies
  • Toxic fertilisers 
  • Damage to crops 
  • Damage to plants
  • Soil pollution 
  • Infiltration into food chains

What is biodegradability?

Biodegradability can be explained as a process in which microbes break down complex waste into simple substances. As a result, these simple substances can become a part of nature again. 

The microbes responsible for the biodegradation process usually are decomposers, bacteria, fungi, algae, and even protozoa. All these microbes play their role in the degradation of waste. 

If you have ever seen a dead animal body decaying, then you have seen these microbes in action. Biodegradability is nature’s own way to deal with waste. It is a way to ensure that there is no waste generation and no waste accumulation. 

Currently, there are about 2 billion tons of waste produced globally. These figures may very well increase exponentially. More than 40% of this waste is not treated properly and is dumped out of ignorance and lack of knowledge. 

If the waste produced and mistreated is not biodegradable, it will add further oil to the fire. It will incapacitate this world to support and sustain life, driving all of us to mass extinction. 

There are countless negative impacts if there is no biodegradability. These may include: 

  • Global warming
  • Deforestation 
  • Pollution
  • Loss of life
  • Habitat destruction
  • Infiltration into the food chains
  • Loss of land 
  • Species endangerment 
  • Soil erosion 
  • Decreased yield 
  • Destruction of ecosystems 

What are the examples of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste?

In this section, various examples of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste will be covered to further our understanding of the concept and science of biodegradability. 

Biodegradable waste is that waste can be degraded by the action of microbes. This type of waste may degrade readily or may also take some months. 

As per some studies, biodegradable waste (like bio-plastics) may even take some years to degrade. Examples of biodegradable waste include: 

  • Food waste
  • Plant waste
  • Animal waste
  • Manure
  • Sewage 
  • Crop waste
  • Waste from slaughterhouse 
  • Natural fibres
  • Natural fabrics 
  • Semi-synthetic material obtained from plant or animal sources (like rayon fabric) 
  • Drywall mud 

Non-biodegradable waste, on the other hand, can not be degraded by the action of microbes. It is mainly because microbes are unable to break the structures of this type of waste. 

It is generally perceived that materials that are synthesised in the lab from petroleum or fossil fuels are not biodegradable. The tragedy is that with increased commercialisation and consumerism, more such waste is generated which leaves us with unprecedented and grave issues. 

Synthetic polymers are regarded as the most common non-biodegradable waste. Other examples may include: 

  • Electronic waste
  • Plastics 
  • Polyvinyl Chloride
  • Nuclear waste
  • Hazardous waste
  • Chemical waste
  • Hospital waste 
  • Synthetic resins
  • Synthetic fibres
  • Dyneema 
  • PHA 
  • EVA

Is Ariel detergent biodegradable?

It has been seen that Ariel detergents are made from a variety of chemicals and enzymes that are essential to delivering the functional quality of Ariel detergent. 

The company’s pledge to sustainability was also assessed resulting in a number of endeavours which include: 

  • Use of sustainable packaging 
  • Use of renewable resources
  • Consumption of less water and less electricity 
  • Determination of LCA of Ariel products
  • Use of biodegradable enzymes

While it is seen that Ariel detergent is made from an eco-friendly perspective and also uses biodegradable enzymes, it is also made from a plethora of surfactants which are not biodegradable.

Therefore, it can be summed up that Ariel detergent is not biodegradable because it has been asserted that for a substance to be biodegradable, it must be made from natural materials only. 

What are some examples of biodegradable laundry detergents?

It is important to note some of the commercially available laundry detergents that are biodegradable as well. This will enable consumers to make better choices in terms of eco-friendliness and sustainability. 

  • Seventh Generation.
  • Ecos Laundry detergent
  • Meliora.
  • Dropps.
  • Method.
  • Mrs Meyer’s.
  • Biokleen.
  • Tru Earth.
  • Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent.

Conclusion 

It is concluded that Ariel detergent is not biodegradable because it contains non-biodegradable materials like anionic and nonionic surfactants and substances such as Polyethylene glycol and polyester.  

However, the production of Ariel is approaching sustainability and eco-friendliness. Steps such as recycled packaging, use of renewable resources, and consumption of less water are examples of such endeavours. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is Ariel biodegradable?

When was Ariel introduced?

Ariel was introduced in 1967 by Procter & Gamble Technology centre.

Does Ariel make use of plant-based surfactants?

No, Ariel does not use plant-based surfactants. Rather, it used surfactants from petroleum products. 

References 

  • Bajpai, D. (2007). Laundry detergents: an overview. Journal of oleo science, 56(7), 327-340.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2012). Health hazards associated with laundry detergent pods-United States, May-June 2012. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 61(41), 825-829.
  • Okpokwasili, G. C., & Nwabuzor, C. N. (1988). Primary biodegradation of anionic surfactants in laundry detergents. Chemosphere, 17(11), 2175-2182.
  • Smulders, E., & Rähse, W. (2002). Laundry detergents (p. 52). Weinheim: Wiley-Vch.
  • Bolt, Chris. (January 7, 2022). 10 Best Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergents (2022). Retrieved from: https://greencitizen.com/blog/eco-friendly-laundry-detergents/

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