Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Get Rid of Your Clothes Dryer... AND Your Clothesline

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I was just readin' about a new washin' machine that's just comin' on the market over in Merrie Olde Englande. The newfangled outfit uses a cup of water for each load of laundry and the clothes come out dry. No dryer. No clothesline. Hardly any water.

The Three R's are Reduce, Re-use and Recycle. They're listed in order of efficacy. By not needin' a whole appliance, the dryer, we're reducin'. By usin' a paltry cup of water per load, we're reducin'. Clothes dryers are big energy hogs so we're reducin' how much we use. Dryers are big and heavy and get delivered to stores and end-users by truck. We're reducin' the amount of freight on the roads and the amount of fuel bein' burned delivering dryers. These outfits don't use much detergent, neither, so we're reducin' there, too. When we don't use water, we don't need to run used water through sewage treatment plants.

Of course, nuthin's as simple as it might seem. These machines use 40 lbs of plastic chips to pound the clothes clean. After about 6 months, the chips need to be replaced. Unless there's some dang good recyclin' or re-usin' plan for that plastic, the benefits may be outweighed. I reckon it might depend on how easily accessible the water is. In drought-stricken and arid regions, it still sounds like a winner. Maybe they can make the plastic chips from recycled plastic bags or water bottles.

Here's a Reuters article about the (almost) waterless washin' machines.



leftdog said...

Amazing! The old saying, 'necessity is the mother of invention' certainly applies here AND should be the slogan that the corporate world reflects on to find further innovations.

Thanks for this!

The Mound of Sound said...

Look, don't go screwing up a good thing. Climate change is going to bring drought to those blue eyed Sheiks next door and we're getting ready to sell them water at, say, $1.45 per litre (price of regular here today). Anything that cuts down on their water consumption could cost us money - and the chance to recoup what they stole from us through their pillaging.

Jennifer Smith said...

Don't look at me. I go to a laundromat that uses solar heated water. So there - phthhhpt!

(and I'd love to use a clothes line but my tree ate it)

sassy said...

A very small number of washers have what is called a "suds-saver", which can reduce water consumption with no noticeable degradation in cleaning ability. It's been around for decades but has unfortunately lost popularity.

Here's how it works: "Suds-saver" allows you to actually save wash water and re-use it for a second (or even third) load of clothes. The final rinse water (cold) is always new & clean for each load. A good strategy with "suds-saver": do a first load of less soiled, lighter colored laundry that needs warmest water - bed sheets, towels, etc. - then save the wash water & re-use it for further loads of progressively dirtier, darker, colored laundry
-- work jeans, muddy clothes, throw-rugs, etc.

Clotheslines - there is nothing like the scent of clothes that have been hung out to dry (unless you reside in a big dirty-air city. Sunlight is also a natural germ killer and a good whitener.

I don't have access to either of the above, but do put laundry through a second spin cycle, to cut down on drying time.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Thankee fer them comments, fellers an' gals. Sassy, I had an old washer that had a suds-saver feature. I ain't sure it's available on new machines. It requires a laundry tub. Many new homes and retrofitted older homes simply have a direct drain for the soapy water to go into. It's a good idea but it doesn't work everywhere.

I use a clothesline most of the year. If it's a rainy day, I hold off doin' laundry. In the dead of winter, I admit to occasional dryer use. The dryer heat is recycled into the home and that means the furnace works a little less when the dryer's on. Humidifier, too. I use only cold water for washin' and buy concentrated, "eco-friendly" liquid detergent. I try to cram as big a load as the machine will handle and never do a machine wash for a few items.

Even with doing all we can, conventional washing machines use many gallons of water. This new idea that uses only a cup will probably be a big hit in Saudi Arabia and Atlanta, Georgia.


Clotheslinemaster said...

Well they do recycle those PET bottles and make ink cartiges and roof tiles shingles. What I found interesting is that same company recycles nylon and supplies a manufacturer of an automated clothesline. Hey, this mechanical marvel is fast at hanging and offloading laundry. There is no touching the clothespins either. See search for cordoclip. or

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, is this an English technology? Based on past experience of UK devices, would not the service visits for this machine outweigh any savings in energy? Perhaps if it could be made in Japan, or Korea....