Accord’s national Phosphorus Standard for phosphorus content and labelling of household laundry detergents has formed part of the laundry industry’s contribution to protecting Australia’s precious waterways since 1994.
Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient. However, it can contribute to eutrophication if it becomes overabundant in aquatic environments, particularly inland waterways. Eutrophication is a process whereby a combination of conditions – nutrient availability, light, warm water temperature, low flow rate and turbidity – can trigger increased aquatic plant growth. The result can be blue-green algae blooms, which can negatively impact other aquatic life and the waterway’s ecosystem.
Laundry detergents are one minor source of phosphorus that can reach inland waterways (see www.furphies.org.au/laundry-detergents-and-phosphorus.html for more information).
The Accord Phosphorus Standard establishes sector-wide benchmarks for phosphorus content in household laundry detergents. The ‘P’ and ‘NP’ on-pack logos have become well-known identifiers of products which meet the requirements of the Standard, and provide a clear indicator to consumers wishing to take phosphorus content into account when they make a purchasing decision.
The Phosphorus Standard has also driven innovation towards lower phosphorus formulations. There are increasing numbers of products licenced to bear the ‘NP’ logo – signifying negligible (less than 0.5%) phosphorus content.
Manufacturers need to apply to Accord for a licence to use the ‘P’ or ‘NP’ logo on any of their laundry detergents.