Changing the way you do laundry can help save the environment, proving that even the smallest of adjustments have a significant impact when it comes to green living. According to carbon footprint expert Mike Berners-Lee in an article in The Guardian, doing laundry (drying included) every two days adds 440 kilograms of CO2 emissions yearly, an amount equivalent to that of a flight between London and Glasgow, and then some. Machine drying accounts for almost 75 percent of that footprint, the article said.
Apart from significant carbon emissions, laundry also contributes to pollution. When laundry wastewater ends up in natural bodies of water, they carry runoffs from laundry detergents. According to an article in Livestrong, the chemicals from these detergents are toxic to aquatic life and have been found to create parasitic algae blooms. Most detergents also come in non-biodegradable plastic packaging that contribute to waste.
Quitting single-use plastics, converting to renewable energy sources, and buying only organic products are among the biggest lifestyle changes that people make when they decide to go green, but the environmental impact of mundane chores is often overlooked. Laundry in particular has a surprising environmental impact.
Reducing the environmental impact of your laundry all comes down to a few simple changes that will help save the environment, and even save you some time and money. Here are some adjustments you can make for more eco-friendly washing and drying.
Using cold instead of hot water is one of the most basic changes you can make. Ninety percent of the energy used when you wash clothes goes to heating water. By simply keeping the water cold, you can save that much energy.
Doing less loads a week also helps. Instead of doing a small load every day, wait until your machine is at maximum capacity so you can make the most of each session. Doing laundry less frequently is more energy-efficient and allows you to save water as well.
It's also important to choose your laundry products wisely. Use non-toxic, plant-based products that don't contain synthetic fragrances and dyes. Dumping chlorine bleach in favor of oxygen bleach is also recommended, as the former contains harmful carcinogenic chemicals that not only pollute the water but also put you at risk.
Try making your own laundry products with items found in your kitchen cabinets. Making your own DIY detergents ensures that neither you nor your clothes are exposed to dangerous chemicals. Common kitchen staples such as lemon, vinegar, sea salt, and baking soda are proven to be effective cleaning agents.
Lastly, ditch the machine dryer in favor of the laundry line. Since most of the carbon emissions from laundry come from machine drying, foregoing it will cut your laundry's carbon footprint considerably. At the same time, line drying helps you avoid shrinkage and stretching, and gives your clothes a longer shelf life. Just make sure to keep your coloreds out of direct sunlight, to avoid fading.
Going about your every day chores doesn't have to come at the cost of the environment. By following these easy tips, your clothes will be clean, and the environment a bit more green.
Learn more about how to live a sustainable, environmentally-friendly lifestyle on GreenLivingNews.com.