Public Goods Review
Last Updated: July 2021

Public Goods Review: One-Stop Shop for Everyday Essentials

Public Goods Dishwater Detergent

Public Goods Dishwasher Detergent Pods

These dishwasher detergent pods pack a punch to dirt, grease, and grime without harming humans or aquatic life. We use natural, plant-derived ingredients to remove stains, sanitize silverware, emulsify grease and oil, protect metal from corrosion, and minimize water spots, all without additives like chlorine, bleach, and phosphates.

They come in convenient, single-use pouches so there’s no need for measuring or mess.

Featured Product: Public Goods Dishwasher Detergent Pods

Price: $6.95 for a pouch of 24 pods 

The Public Goods Dishwasher Detergent Pods are compact, sustainably green, cleaning machines. These are premeasured detergent pods to make washing a load of dishes even easier. Public Goods uses only 4 natural, plant-derived ingredients in their pods to clean like no other.

These pods remove stains, sanitize, emulsify fats, protect metal from corrosion, and minimize water spots all at the same time.  

Ratings Breakdown

quality

They claim to use only high end cruelty-free ingredients in their products, but lack the transparency to confirm this is actually the case.

value

Public Goods is a membership site that charges an annual fee to have access to their products, thereby reducing the overall value slightly.

customer experience

All of the products tested performed better than any other product tried in the same category.

brand

This brand produces higher quality products with little packaging and has an environmental mission to boot.

Who is Public Goods?

Public Goods was founded by Morgan Hirsh and Mike Ferchak in 2015. Morgan had a background with not only a family business but starting some of his own prior to Public Goods. He met Mike at a bar in China and the two of them hit it off right away. 

Throughout their friendship they began discussing the idea of creating a company that produced good quality, ethically sourced, and environmentally friendly products at a lower cost. This was due to the fact that they were tired of seeing all of the brand-name products in their houses and knowing that they paid close to 4 times as much as they cost to manufacture.

Public Goods Brand

From there, they embarked upon an initially bumpy road and a few name and branding changes. Public Goods actually almost didn’t make it, until they got a last-minute infusion from an investor and then started a Kickstarter campaign. 

The rest, as they say, is history. And today we have the Public Goods company as we know it. But, that doesn’t mean it will stay the same forever. This company appears to be fairly adaptable and is open to changing with the market in order to keep up the high level of products consumers expect.

Public Goods also plants a tree for each order processed. They have partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects to help with the global deforestation issue. Plus, they will plant a tree for every person signing up for their email list. And another tree for every friend you recommend. This is a pretty cool way to spread their mission further to increase sustainability.

Pros

  • Minimal packaging
  • Cruelty-free
  • Sustainable
  • Made in the USA
  • Gentle formulas
  • Wide array of product offerings
  • Plants a tree for every order

Cons

  • Annual membership fee required
  • Not as transparent as they could be

Public Goods Product Reviews

For our initial Public Goods order we decided to try 5 different products. We wanted to compare these products to things we normally use in order to get a really objective feel.

Therefore, the following is how each product performed.

Public Goods Ramen Noodles

Public Goods RamenRamen Variety Pack – 15 count ($27.00)

We absolutely love Ramen, but are used to paying closer to $1 per pack. While the price point of the Ramen Variety Pack was almost double what we’re used to, the flavor spoke for itself. Every single Ramen flavor Public Goods offered was out of this world. We loved them so much that we ate the entire pack within a week.Public Goods Ramen Taste Test

The Ramen was easy to make (like all Ramen should be) and the flavor spoke to the higher quality ingredients in this product. This particular product label says they are made in Taiwan.

Overall, we absolutely loved it and will definitely be getting more of this.

Public Goods Vegetable Broth Concentrate

Public Goods Vegetable BrothVegetable Broth Concentrate 12 oz ($12.00)

We use vegetable broth for a lot of cooking, especially rice dishes and soups. And it can be difficult to find a good quality, organic vegetable broth. So we were excited to try the Public Goods Vegetable Broth Concentrate

The ingredient list touted high-quality, organic ingredients. Which I absolutely loved! However, one ingredient was a flag to me; canola oil. This product is labeled as being made in Ohio, but over 90% of the canola oil grown in the United States is genetically modified.

public-goods-vegetable-broth-pot

And, in general, canola oil is a less nutrient-dense oil used in foods when companies don’t want to spend more money on a higher quality oil. So, this concerns me a bit with regard to quality and the transparency of the product sourcing.

The flavor was good, but nothing really noteworthy that made it stand out from other vegetable broths I’ve tried. The brand states that this 12-ounce container will make 18 cups of vegetable broth since it’s concentrated. That may be so, but for the much higher price tag, this probably isn’t one I’m going to order again.

Public Goods Chocolate Chip Cookies

Public Goods CookiesChocolate Chip Cookies 7 oz ($4.00)

It is really difficult to mess up a chocolate chip cookie, so we figured this would be a good one to try. The Public Goods Chocolate Chip Cookies come in a 7-ounce box with minimal packaging. According to the label, they are made in Georgia. I liked the smaller size of these cookies because they were easier to dip in my milk.

These cookies aren’t labeled as organic, but the majority of the ingredients on the box looked pretty decent. However, one flag I had was the “natural vanilla flavor.” Cookie Taste Test Public Goods

This is used a lot instead of vanilla extract because it’s cheaper to make (less vanilla beans required). And, the FDA doesn’t regulate what’s used in the vanilla flavoring as much as they do a vanilla extract. Therefore, in a lot of cases castoreum is used as the flavoring agent, which comes from the anal glands of beavers. This doesn’t really sound too appetizing to me, to be honest!

And while the cookies were good, they weren’t anything out of the ordinary. So these probably won’t be on my high list to order again any time soon.

Public Goods Dish Soap

Dish Soap Public GoodsDish Soap Refill 34 oz ($7.50)

Whether I like to do dishes or not, they just keep piling up. So, having a good dish soap on hand that cleans extremely efficiently and smells good is key. The Public Goods Dish Soap Refill comes with 34 ounces, so it should last me quite a while. This product says that it’s made in Massachusetts. 

I love that this product doesn’t use any harmful ingredients and the smell was really nice. It cleaned well and worked above average. Dish Soap Test Public Goods

This may be a product that I add into my regular rotation. Especially if I can start using it as a foaming dish soap instead, because that way I can stretch the product out much further, which saves me even more money.

Public Goods Dishwasher Detergent Pods

Public Goods Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher Detergent Pods 24 count ($6.95)

The Public Goods Dishwasher Pods was the product that I was most excited about. I’m sure that sounds silly, but my regular dishwashing detergent has just not been able to handle my smoothie cups effectively.

Therefore, when I ran the first load of dishes (including the aforementioned smoothie cup), the results blew me away.Dishwasher Detergent Test Public Goods

The dishes came out sparkling clean. And we did multiple loads over subsequent days to see if there was any discrepancy in the results. There wasn’t. Which was surprisingly awesome! This product says it’s made in Illinois.

My only issue with this product was the lack of a proper ingredients list on the package. I noticed that both this product and the dish soap had a scent. But there was no scent listed on the ingredients list, at all.

public-goods-dish-detergent-dishes-cleaned

While I realize that a lot of cleaning enzymes can be derived from plants, such as lime and lavender. Generally, there is not a scent associated with just the enzyme itself. So, I went back to the website and dug a little deeper. On the page for this specific product, the brand actually lists one more ingredient that isn’t listed on the actual package; lemon essential oil.

While I like lemon essential oil, my issue is with the discrepancy between what they say are in the product versus what really is. So, this concerns me a bit about their products. However, even with that, I have never had a dishwasher detergent clean the way this one does. So, it is definitely on my reorder list.

public-goods-natural chocolate chip cookies

Natural Chocolate Chip Cookies

4.005.00(20% Off)

Is Public Goods Good Quality?

Public Goods was created to offer high-quality products to consumers at a lower cost by cutting out middlemen. Which is a fantastic platform. The brand claims that all of their products are free of the following traditional bad guys:

  • Phthalates – linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, and endocrine disruption
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) – a surfactant that strips the natural oils of the skin and weakens the barrier, making it easier for toxins to creep in.
  • Parabens – endocrine disruptors
  • Formaldehyde – linked to cancer and allergic skin reactions
  • Synthetic Fragrances – linked to cancer, allergic reactions, and many contain neurotoxins

Ensuring the products don’t contain any of the aforementioned is extremely important for overall health and quality of a product. However, the brand does lack clear transparency regarding where and how they source the ingredients they do use. 

They also don’t specify which labs they use, or where, or which certifications, if any, these labs have. Public Goods does label each product specifying where it’s made. But this can be as ambiguous as simply the USA.Public Goods Ramen Review

The brand mentions that they select ethical vendors from across the globe, but that’s about all you’re going to get. Therefore, it makes it difficult to discern exactly how ethical their products are, if there is no more information offered.

This is extremely unfortunate for a company that is based on promoting high-quality, ethically sourced everyday essentials. I, personally, would expect more from Public Goods in order to back up the marketing claims. The hope is that they will add a lot more transparency if they want to put their money where their mouth is.Ramen Quality

I do like that the ingredients are clearly listed on each product. And in a lot of cases they offer a more in-depth explanation of what each ingredient is for consumers who are unsure. This is helpful and a benefit that a lot of other companies don’t offer.

A good example of this is the dish soap we tried. Everything was clearly marked and identified, making it much easier for us to actually determine what the more obscure ingredients were.

public goods vegetable broth offer

Vegetable Broth Concentrate

12.00

Are Public Goods Products Worth It?

To begin with, Public Goods prices are pretty darn cheap for what you get. Although some of the products may seem a bit higher priced than comparable products off the shelf, it’s really not the case. Take the Public Goods Dish Soap Refill for $7.50. Public Goods Products

I have been purchasing a similar brand at my local big box store for $5.99. However, I just realized that the one I’ve been buying contains SLS, while the Public Goods product doesn’t. So, in all reality, they aren’t comparable products. And, I’m willing to pay a bit more for quality.

However, adding in the annual membership does increase the overall cost of each product purchased throughout the year. But, if you place a couple of big orders throughout the year to stock up on essentials, you’ll also forgo the shipping fees and the products will come right to your door. So, you’ll have to determine for yourself if you think it’s worth the money or not.

Public Goods Coupons & Discounts

Public Goods does offer an initial discount of 10% off your first order when you sign up for their mailing list. They also offer free shipping on all orders over $45 within the United States. If you’re in Canada, all orders come with free shipping over $100.Public Goods Coupons

Other than that, they don’t offer much in the way of discounts since their products are already offered at rock bottom prices.

Frequently Asked Questions

For any consumer on the hunt for healthy and sustainable everyday essentials, Public Goods is a pretty good bet. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some regular questions that consumers have prior to purchasing. Here is where we answer the most common questions about Public Goods products to help consumers make a more educated decision.

Does Public Goods have a returns policy?

They currently do not have a returns policy on any of their products. However, they want to make sure consumers like and enjoy the products they purchase from them. So they suggest reaching out to them if you are dissatisfied in any way and they will see what they can do to rectify the situation.

The brand does state, though, if you receive any damaged or defective goods to reach out to them right away and they will issue a refund.

How long does Public Goods take to ship?

This can vary depending upon where you live and which type of shipping you choose. If you choose the free shipping option, it will be typical ground shipping time frames of 2-6 business days. However, you can choose to pay for expedited shipping of next day, second day, or three day also. Our order got to us in 3 business days, so we were pretty happy with the fast turnaround time.public goods shipping

If you live in Canada, the ground shipping time frame is extended to 5-10 business days instead. The brand says they will send you an email with tracking information as soon as it ships. But, you can track any orders placed through your dashboard by logging into your Public goods account also.

How does the Public Goods annual membership work?

There is an initial 14-day free trial to order products from Public Goods. After that, whichever payment method you have on file with them will be charged the $59 annual membership fee. This fee is supposed to help consumers get the best prices on all of their products. It helps to offset the overhead costs and reduce the product fees. public  goods membership2

The brand claims this is necessary in order to get consumers the best price by not having products go through 4 different suppliers on the way to them, like most major brands do.

However, the brand wants consumers to like and enjoy their products. So if you are no longer happy with the membership, they say you can cancel anytime by emailing Public Goods. They will refund a prorated amount for each month of the membership not used during the year, which is nicer than some membership companies are.

public-goods-dish-soap-refill-offer

Dish Soap Refill

7.50

Public Goods Summary

For any consumer on the hunt for healthy and sustainable everyday essentials, Public Goods is a pretty good bet. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some regular questions that consumers have prior to purchasing.

Here is where we answer the most common questions about Public Goods products to help consumers make a more educated decision.

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