We’re used to separating our laundry up into blacks and whites, but what about greens? Being eco-conscious is becoming increasingly important in every aspect of our lives and the laundry is no different. Are you aware of the environmental impact of your weekly washing load? No? Most people aren’t. Luckily, we’ve put together some quick info about the impact laundry can have on the environment and some easy ways to reduce the burden each time.
The carbon footprint of an average weekly load of washing is about a kilogram. This varies depending on the temperature at which you’re washing and the type of machine you’re using, but to put it in context that’s about enough to travel 12 kilometres by train. With climate change becoming increasingly evident in world weather events and most of us wanting to play our part in limiting the damage, cleaning our clothes in an eco-friendly manner is something small we can do to help out.
Have a think about your routine. Are there ways you could make it more environmentally sound? Start by checking your equipment. Using outdated or poorly maintained machines can use up much more energy than modern types. If you’re looking for an excuse to upgrade, this may very well be it! Having a washing machine with a good spin function can also make all the difference to getting clothes clean quicker. This function wrings out the water more effectively, making it easier for clothes to dry.
Indeed drying itself is a big factor in how environmentally friendly your laundry routines may be. While the convenience of a dryer can’t be denied, it uses up so much energy that going without even just occasionally could impact both the environment and your monthly bills. Putting clothes on the line in summer and using an indoor rack in the rain takes a bit more work, but your grandchildren and their grandchildren will be thanking you for the extra effort many years down the line.
There is lots of good general advice on how to do laundry online – including this blog – and a big issue often discussed is which products to use. Here too, have a think about environmental impact. Next time you buy, check the ingredients to see what’s being used. Avoid those products with excessive perfumes or dyes. Buying in bulk can be a good option, as it requires less packaging and will also save you time at the shop.
Buying natural laundry detergent is hugely beneficial to the environment and also comes with many advantages for the user. Detergents that are made of plant-based ingredients effectively clean your clothes while also preserving the integrity of the fabric, and of course, are better for the environment. Some natural detergents are also far more concentrated, allowing you to use less product to wash your clothes, subsequently saving energy and resources.
Ultimately, getting green about your laundry may simply mean doing fewer washes. Try products that freshen up your clothes without needing to put them in the wash so often. Wear things a few times over if they’re not too dirty and give away unnecessary clothes so you’re not tempted to amass a wardrobe full of garments that need constant washing. It might seem like a sacrifice now, but the time you save will be just as good as the environmental impact. Help out the planet and help out yourself!