Take the Clean Underwear/Clean Earth Challenge
Several months back I challenged all of you to “spare a square:” to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use by 50% at each sitting and to use recycled T.P. whenever possible. This challenge was met with great response.
Now I pose a new challenge: Dust off your clothespins and reduce the use of your clothes dryer! I will share some (shocking!) facts about dryer use and the environment and my personal challenge commitment. I encourage you all to post your challenge commitments and follow-up to let us know how your doing!
A Few Facts About the Clothes Dryer:
- Clothes dryers are the second largest energy eater in American homes (second to the refrigerator)
- 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer (as compared with 3-4% in Italy)
- U.S. electric bills would be reduced 10-20% if use of clothes dryers was eliminated.
- In 2005, there were 88 million clothes dryers in America; these dryers create 2,224 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
- More house fires are caused by clothes dryers than any other household appliance.
Now, I’m not going to lie. I love my clothes dryer. I love how soft and fluffy the clothes come out; I love how sweet they smell; I love that I can put a wrinkly pair of pants in there for a few minutes and they come out looking freshly pressed. And most of all, I love that 45 minutes after I wash my clothes, they are 100% dry and closet-ready. Ah, the convenience of it all.
That being said, I am ready to challenge myself to reduce my carbon footprint by addressing my tumble-dry addiction. With a new infant in the home, I spend a fair amount of time to do laundry, and I am not ready to quit cold turkey. So here is my challenge pledge:
1. I will purchase a drying rack (a good place to start, right?)
2. I will hang-dry at least 2 loads of laundry per week (about 1/3 of my laundry)
While that doesn’t seem like much, if every home cut their dryer use by 1/3, we could reduce carbon emissions from 2,224 pounds to 1,482, a significant decrease, and a good start to address our American energy over-consumption problem.
Now it’s your turn to take a close look at your dryer habits, and see what works for you. Even if you start by only committing to one load per month, this can be the start of a habit change, and will begin to make an impact on the environment. If the majority of the rainy UK, can do it, so can we! Happy Hanging!!