Stop Plastic Laundry Pods and Sheets from Contaminating Our Water


UPDATE: After productive conversations with the EPA in January 2023 where we were able to share in detail the body of research supporting our petition, we heard in May 2023, the EPA was denying the request to initiate a proceeding. We will be going back to the EPA with a rebuttal and are actively working on next steps, including continuing to gather signatures to show support for important actions needed to be taken towards reducing PVA pollution. The signatures and support collected here are an important part of an ongoing process to demonstrate the public desire for PVA regulation.

Most people do not realize that all laundry detergent pods (and a newer format, dissolvable sheets), are made from a petroleum-based plastic called Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA or PVOH). While this film dissolves, it does not disappear or readily biodegrade. Research shows that over 75% of intact plastic particles from these laundry and dishwasher pods and sheets are released into our oceans, rivers and soil. Why? Because the conditions needed to completely degrade this plastic are extremely specific and don’t exist in most wastewater treatment facilities.  

This plastic film (PVA) has the potential to absorb dangerous chemicals and contaminants, antibiotics, or heavy metals at high concentrations and then work their way up the food chain. PVA has recently been found in drinking water and human breast milk.

Like salt dissolving in water, PVA has the same effect – you can’t see it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. When you toss a laundry pod into your washing machine, the plastic doesn't disappear, it just breaks up into tiny plastic particles. While it might not be visible to the human eye, it’s still contributing to our current plastic crisis at a massive scale.

We’re petitioning the EPA to regulate the use of this plastic film (PVA) in consumer packaged goods like detergent pods or sheets by requesting they:

  1. Conduct extensive tests on PVA biodegradability and it's potential impact on the environment and human health
  2. Update the status of PVA on the EPA Safer Choice List until such testing is complete

As one of the most widely used cleaning formats, plastic pods have the potential to become a ubiquitous pollutant in the future if not immediately stopped. Companies have begun iterating off of pods and creating “sheets” – another product always made with PVA and commonly used for laundry detergent and personal care products. It’s up to us to take action to prevent the potential impact of PVA on human and environmental health.

We’ve brought on experts and leaders in the global movement against plastic pollution to co-sign our petition like Plastic Pollution Coalition, Beyond Plastics, 5gyres, The Shaw Institute, Lonely Whale, Plastic Oceans International, Oceanic Global, RGISC, The Last Beach Cleanup, and Friends of the Earth. You can read the full petition here.

Sign our petition and help us achieve our goal of 10,000 signatures to demand the EPA regulate the use of PVA in consumer packaged goods and keep this plastic film out of our water!


To: The EPA
From: [Your Name]

Laundry pods and sheets ARE plastic. We demand the EPA remove PVA from the EPA Safer Choice List and do extensive health and environmental tests on it so we can keep plastic out of our water!