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Light Shades of {Green} Month 3: Laundry

April 04, 2011

I have termed my "Green" posts "light shades of green". Why? You hear it all the time - "go green". Product packaging often promises "green" which is supposed to mean "buy it, this is good". Many times this is true, however, as we often see things listed "organic", "natural" and "heart healthy" when it's not necessarily so, the term "green" can certainly be misused as well.

It's also important to determine how inconvenienced you might be to "go green". Do I have to purchase different appliances? Do I need to remodel my home? Do I need to change my lifestyle? You certainly can, but what if we focus on small things we can change?

What if we strive to achieve light shades of green?

This month we're talking about laundry.  Everyone's got it, so how can we make positive changes that might impact the earth?  Here's some simple, "light green" ideas to consider:
  • Make your own laundry detergent.
  • Use "green" laundry detergent that's biodegradable, phosphate-free and made from plant-based ingredients.
  • Use 1 cup of white vinegar in the washing machine during the rinse cycle as a replacement for fabric softener.
  • Wear items of clothing more than once (i.e. jeans, sweatshirt, etc.).
  • When you washing machine and/or dryer are ready to be replaced, purchase energy efficient models and a front-loading washing machine.  **Did you know that front-loading energy efficient washing machines use, on average, between 18 - 25 gallons of water per load?  Compare that to the 40 gallons per load used by older top-loading models.**
  • Wash in cold water and make sure to fill, but not overload your machine.
  • Use a clothing line or drying rack.  Even used part of the time will make a difference.  An added bonus is that your clothing will last longer.
  • Find a greener dry cleaner if you must take items to be drycleaned.  A greener cleaner does not use perchloroethylene ("perc").
  • Avoid chlorine bleach.  The fumes from the bleach can irritate airways, eyes and nose and can be fatal if swallowed.  When released into the waterways it can contaminate drinking water.
Small changes can make a difference.  Do you have any additional ideas that you've tried?

To read the first two "Light Shades of {Green} - Water bottles and Eating Locally and In-Season, click {here}

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