Our laundry can carry a hefty carbon footprint. American households do approximately 300 loads of laundry every year – that’s a lot of energy and water. The good news is there are simple steps to reduce our laundry emissions:
1. Use Cold Water: 90% of the energy a washing machine uses goes towards heating the water. The ‘cold’ setting may still heat water so using ‘tap cold’ is best. Cold water preserves fabrics longer and reduces the amount of micro-plastics getting into the environment. Sweaty gym gear and linens after illness may need the occasional hot wash, but cold water should suffice for most loads.
2. Air Dry: Haul the basket to a clothesline or drying rack in our dry Utah air and save heaps from emissions. Dryers can use up to ten times more power than a washer. Always fill the load and use the high-speed spin cycle option.
3. Try Alternative Detergent: Have a think about the number of plastic jugs or cardboard boxes you’ve used over the years for detergent. How can you save oil and trees and either make your own detergent, buy reusable Balls, Pods or Strips? The newly popular washing balls last for 2-5 years or 1,000+ loads. Get creative and if you do use detergent always check Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) to see how your detergent ranks.
Habits and routines are hard to break but laundry should have blatant results. Not only will your power bills decrease, but your efforts will feel good! Now imagine if everyone on your block changed their laundry habits – it adds up.
Recycle Utah, your community non-profit drop-off recycling center, provides these weekly tips. Visit their website for more information – ww.recycleutah.org.