Do you ever want to help an organization, but feel like you can’t spare enough money to make a real difference?
Are you an environmentalist, wishing that everybody would switch to plant-based cleaners to help conserve our irreplaceable petroleum, but feeling like nobody ever listens to your ravings about how great these cleaners are?
Buy a bottle of your favorite earth-friendly dish detergent and leave it next to the kitchen sink in the church, office, fraternal lodge, union hall, secret hide-out, or whatever is the headquarters of the organization in question. Don’t ask permission. Don’t point it out and tell everybody how much they’re going to love it. Don’t even tell anyone it was you who brought it. Just place it there for all to use, and when it starts running low, bring another one.
The organization will appreciate not needing to spend its funds on dish detergent and thus having a few dollars extra for its mission. You’ll be doing something to make everyday life a little nicer by helping folks have clean dishes and no worries about who’s going to bring in detergent. You’ll be helping the environment by getting one more bottle of petroleum distillates replaced with plant-based soap, and you may have a larger impact when people using the dish detergent think, “Hey, this stuff cleans really well and smells great! What brand is this?” and then switch to it at home.
If your Girl Scout troop or other group meets in a building that belongs to someone else, and you wash dishes there (especially if you’re using their dishes), donating dish detergent is a low-cost way of thanking the building for letting you meet there. By replenishing a supply that you use, you’re sort of becoming a part of the building’s ecosystem, taking responsibility for your use of its resources.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be dish detergent. Maybe you’d rather donate hand soap, toilet paper, coffee, or some other consumable item that you use when you’re there.
I’ve been the primary provider of dish detergent for my office suite since we moved to our current building three years ago. We finally have a kitchen (as opposed to having a refrigerator and microwave in the conference room but washing dishes in the restrooms) and when I first saw it, I thought, “How can I convince everyone that we need to choose earth-friendly dish detergent?” and then I decided to Just Do It rather than attempt to argue the point. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone in the office that I’m doing it. I just set down a new bottle when nobody’s looking. (There is no official source of dish detergent for our office kitchen–it’s not provided by the building maintenance crew, ordered with the office supplies, or anything like that–so it has to be brought in by volunteers. I just volunteered myself, unofficially.) A couple of times, I’ve heard co-workers comment to each other that they never tried this brand before, and it cleans better and smells nicer than what they have at home, and the label says it’s made of coconuts, how ’bout that?
I buy whichever brand is on sale, but I try to provide a variety of brands so people get to try them. All of these brands are excellent, in my experience:
Dishmate (made by Ecos/Earth Friendly Products)
Sun & Earth.
Donating dish detergent works for me!