9 ways to lower the carbon impact of laundry day

Doing the laundry can be extremely pollution intensive, but there are ways to lessen the impact...

Over 70% of the negative environmental footprint – things like energy use, water consumption and pollution – that is associated with our clothing comes from how we care for the clothing we own, especially doing the laundry, drying and dry-cleaning.

Here are some tips to reduce your carbon footprint when doing the laundry:

1. Buy in bulk

Packaging is a major contributor to one's carbon footprint, and it's simple, the small the item the more the packaging. Buy your washing detergents in bulk to avoid excess packaging.

2. Make your own

Even better, make your own laundry detergents. This way you know exactly what it is made of and you will reduce your carbon footprint by saving on packaging.

Check out these homemade laundry detergent idea's by the Mother Nature Network

3. Select the right load size

Make sure you select the right settings on your washing machine for the load size you plan on washing. If you are washing a small load dial back the size or increase it if you have a lot of laundry. If your washing machine doesn't allow you to choose the load size, try talking to your plumber about a more energy efficient option.

4. Use a clothesline

Drying clothes in an electric dryer is a waste of energy and unnecessary. The sun and wind works perfectly to dry your clothes.

5. Combine loads

Try not to be too careful about separating your laundry loads, this way you can combine loads and save on water. For new dark clothes, it's good to wash them on cold without light colours at least once, but you don't need to be too cautious after that. Or just trust your gut, but try not to separate clothing if it's not really necessary.

6. Make sure it is actually dirty

When you send clothes the the wash make sure they are actually dirty. Sometimes it is just habit to wash clothes after wearing them once, but often they don't need to be washed and they can be worn multiple times before actually being considered “dirty".

7. Wash on cold

Wash on cold! According to the EPA, 90 percent of the energy used in washing is spent heating water. Heating the water is completely unnecessary.

8. Stop ironing

Ironing used a lot of energy. To make sure you're clothes don't wrinkle, hang them immediately after washing to allow the natural weight to pull wrinkles out. Or just really think hard “does this need ironing?".

9. Ditch the dry cleaner

Whatever you do, avoid the dry cleaner! They use harsh chemicals and it is expensive. Try avoid buying clothes that require dry cleaning.

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Shea Hogarth Former International Correspondent Suggest an article Send us an email

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