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Haverford College

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When sweater fashion dramatically changed 25 years ago, the mother of Jonathan Propper ’77 had an ephiphany. The new fashion item, cotton sweaters, could not be washed with traditional detergents. So she founded Cot’n Wash, which produced a new kind of detergent specially made to wash cotton sweaters.

After a successful decade, the Proppers sold Cot'n Wash and moved on to other business ventures. A few years later, Propper reacquired Cot'n Wash from its original buyers, who were now in financial trouble. Back in charge of Cot'n Wash, Propper again has a product that he hopes will change the way people do laundry. Dropps (dissolvable, ready-to-use, organic, pre-measured packets) will soon hit WalMart and Target stores across the country. Each Dropp, a packet about 1'' by 2'', contains a super-concentrated version of Cot'n Wash that is enough for one load of laundry. The detergent isn't the focus though; the breakthrough is the packaging. Made from 100 percent recycled plastic, each Dropp dissolves on contact with water.

The environmental benefits of Dropps are twofold, says Propper. The packaging dissolves, unlike bulky plastic bottles, and the concentrated formula means that shipping Dropps saves gas. How much gas? According to research commissioned by Cot'n Wash, if all laundry detergent was replaced by concentrated Dropps, Americans would save over six million gallons of diesel fuel. And that's not all. A switch to Dropps from what Propper calls "bottled water detergents" would also save 132,000 tons of corrugated cardboard, prevent the release of 622,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and save 133,000 tons of plastic that are used on detergent bottles.

"It's convenience without compromise," says Propper, "You can do the right thing from an environmental standpoint and even make your lifestyle easier."

At Haverford, Propper is remembered for both his intense work ethic and his impressive talent on the soccer field. His 27 goals and eight assists (including a 12-goal 1975 season) place him in the elite of Haverford soccer history.

Dean of the College Greg Kannerstein '63 remembers Propper for his passion, work ethic, and, of course, his immense soccer ability. "His size and his speed made him a fearsome sight," remembers Kannerstein. "I think he convinced a lot of goalies to look for other positions."

Propper graduated from Germantown Friends High School before coming to Haverford. "Between the two [schools] they gave me part of a moral compass that becomes part of your lifestyle."

Environmental issues have long been a concern of Haverford students. "Environmental protection is one of the roots of the College," says Kannerstein. "Quakers were thinking about protecting the environment long before you started reading about it in the newspaper."

"He could have worked for a big corporation but he decided to develop new products and find a road that hasn't been travelled," says Kannerstein of Propper now. "He hasn't lost his intensity, and his vision - I don't mean his eyesight - has gotten even sharper."


— Dave Merrell '09

The path that leads to the Gardner Integrated Athletic Center and Whitehead Campus Center. The GIAC opened in 2006.

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