Blueland products are tablets and powders for cleaning. These include dish powder, dishwasher tablets, laundry tablets and cleaning tablets: glass, bathroom, and multi-surface. Blueland’s goal is to reduce single-use plastic. Many household products come in plastic bottles that are used once and then only recycled once or twice before the material degrades beyond usability. Spray and pump insert parts usually need to be trashed. Tablets, pods, concentrates, etc. make it possible to reduce the amount of water shipped around the world lightening the carbon footprint. Water is usually a top ingredient listed in many cleaning products.
I first came across Blueland on my Instagram feed. The product also had a relationship with Imperfect Foods when we were using them early on in COVID so I saw informational emails regularly. I typically make my own cleaning products using bulk household ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, but the ads kept coming in and in the interest of the possibly making things easier for some of my readers, I decided to try it. We also go back and forth on the hand soap option at the kitchen sink so I was interested in trying something new. I strongly support the idea of concentrates, refills and reusable containers. I’m also not opposed to new products that may help people consider packaging options, are made of less toxic ingredients, make a smaller footprint, and that may clean better than homemade recipes.
The shipping and protection packaging for Blueland is great. The shipping box is sturdy and can be reused, it’s one of those locking versions, and it was sealed with paper tape instead of plastic tape.
The products came in two packed levels. The trays are amazingly sturdy so I kept those and am using them for so many things. The containers are sturdy and will hold up well with reuse. The instructions to mix and set everything up were clear and easy. My three year old had a blast helping out.
Caution #1: Product Packaging Followthrough
There is a lot of packaging once you start opening the tablets. The hand soap tablets are lined in silver metal-plastic-looking material that immediately concerned me since one of the main premises behind Blueland is all the packaging is recyclable and compostable. Because of this metal look and the fact that none of the packaging or website says “BPI-certified compostable,” I contacted Blueland. I should have contacted Blueland first before ordering their products. Tip for the future for me and everyone else. Their response is below.
The dishwasher powder, dish pouches, and laundry pouches are made from compostable materials in accordance with EN13432 and ASTM D6400/ASTM D6866 and in compliance with the requirements of the FTC Guidelines.Blueland customer service response to my “compostability” inquiry of their packaging.
The hand soap tablet wrappers are then paper based and have an interior lining that is made of thin layers of aluminum and PLA (made 100% from annually renewable plant starch), which are used to preserve the tablet. The full wrapper is still biodegradable and industrially compostable.
Even though Blueland says their tablet packaging is “industrially compostable,” since Blueland is not BPI-Certified Compostable, at this point in time Blueland products should not be included in City of Austin curbside compost carts. Currently the City of Austin’s curbside composting contractor accepts food waste, non-treated food-related food serving utensils like popsicle sticks and chopsticks, and BPI-certified compostable items. If Blueland becomes BPI-Certified Compostable, lists certification on their products, and/or the City’s contractor is able to begin accommodating these types materials, this status may change and I will update this post and notify you readers as such.
Everything being said, throwing away the small wrappers vs. the spray pump aspect takes up less space in the landfill. The spray pump mechanism for bottles cannot be recycled in common curbside programs because they are a composite/mixed-material and the individual pieces are too small and will fall through the sorter, or they will tangle the sorting mechanisms (ex: the long straw bit). Bottle pumps and sprayers can be recycled in an All-In-One TerraCycle box; however you would have to purchase one of these boxes and the cost for TerraCycle boxes that accommodate the spray pump mechanisms can be a deterrent for many interested in being more zero waste in this way.
Caution #2: Ingredients
I admit I was blinded by the refillable, allegedly compostable aspects of Blueland and did not read the ingredient lists as thoroughly as I should have before making my purchase. No one is perfect.
- There is fragrance in the Multi-purpose and Bathroom cleaners. We’re very sensitive to scent and we do okay with these but I wish there was no scent. The Multi-purpose smells like rose and my husband hates rose scent.
- The Clean Suite kit I ordered does not offer a foaming hand soap scent option at checkout and Blueland does not offer an unscented hand soap. You get Iris Agave as part of the kit which is too perfumey for us so we didn’t use that one and had to do a quick order for the Perrine Lemon so we could stand the smell.
- There is colorant in the cleaners to help you easily identify the correct bottle. It helps to quickly identify a bottle to grab but it’s not necessary and I would have preferred no color added. Color is listed as biodegradable but not specified as to the ingredient(s) themselves.
- My son is allergic to the hand soap regardless of the formula/scent. He breaks out in a bumpy rash. There are too many ingredients so we’re not sure which is the specific culprit but when he doesn’t use Blueland hand soap the rash goes away.
- Most of the ingredients are to preserve the dry aspect of the products and not for cleaning, it’s not a deal breaker just something I wish I had considered more before ordering the kit.
The bottles and containers have held up well despit some website reviews. I’ve not had anything break on me but the hand soap pump definitely weakened quickly under three year old eagerness so it sticks fairly often. We also need to use 2-3 pumps of hand soap to be effective so I’m not a fan of the hand soap formula. Everything but the glass cleaner works well enough. I ordered Grove’s Glass Cleaner Concentrate and it works way better than Blueland’s glass cleaner. Blueland leaves tons of streaks despite numerous passes with our cotton cloth. Grove works perfectly the first application using the same cotton cloth. I also think our Dropps dishwasher and laundry pods work better. I can’t put my finger on specifics but the results just look and feel cleaner.
So overall I would say purchasing Blueland depends on what you’re looking for. I think the dish powder, dish tablets and laundry tablets (paper-only wrappers) would be good for someone looking to get rid of single-use plastic, those looking to reduce plastic bottles, concerns about the non-recyclability of lined cardboard boxes (check with your hauler), and Blueland’s claims regarding the exterior material of pods. Definitely stay away from the glass cleaner regardless: even plain vinegar does a better job. Otherwise my homemade cleaners, Dropps, and Grove products are working well for us. I’ll share more information on my Grove experience to-date in a future post.
I won’t be ordering Blueland refills again but I will continue to use all their containers for my homemade products and for our household.
Have you tried Blueland? Can you compare it to other products? What are your thoughts?