Until now, if you have hard water, the most difficult product to substitute an environmentally preferable one for has been automatic dish detergent.
Most commercial products contain phosphates and chlorine, and while these are problematic for the environment, they leave the dishes sparkling clean. But phosphates soften water and can cause algae blooms in lakes and ponds, and the production of chlorine can cause dioxin and other organochlorines that are long-lasting in the environment.
I am sure I am not alone in having had to wash a film off the dishes a few times after experimenting with the green brands of automatic dish detergent over the years, and ultimately given up and bought a leading commercial brand. It is great to announce that those days are over. Two leading green brands of automatic dishwashing detergent, Seventh Generation and Ecover, have reformulated their products, and the new formulas truly work as well as the leading national brands, even if you have hard water. They are chlorine and phosphate free. The Seventh generation product is also “Free and Clear of Perfumes and Dyes,” and the formula has been particularly improved to reduce spotting and filming.