Sunday, April 19, 2009

Happy "Hanging Out" Day!

I bet I was the first one to wish you that. Fellow environmentalists are always challenging us to think about our energy consumption and providing easy ways to reduce it. One simple solution, according to a group called Project Laundry List, is to hang dry our clothes.

Nearly 6 percent of residential electricity use goes towards the clothes dryer, according to DOE EIA statistics from 2001. That doesn't even take into account the millions of Americans who do their wash at commercial Laundromats and multi-family housing units, nor does it factor in the 16 percent of U.S. households that use gas dryers. If all Americans would use a clothesline or wooden drying racks, the savings could shut down several power plants. Project Laundry List, you are so wise!

They encourage investing in a clothesline for homeowners or a drying lack like this, which is great for apartment dwellers like myself. I purchased one at Bed Bath and Beyond when I moved into my first apartment.

Each load I don't dry saves $1.50, which quickly adds up. I also just put most of my clothes right on a hanger and leave them to dry on my shower rack. Easy!

Have more questions, such as what to do about stiff towels and jeans; how to use vinegar in your laundry, and if you should be concerned about germs washing in cold water. Find the answers here.

How green is your laundry? Take the Sierra Club's 10-question quiz and find out.

Flashback to my entry on greening your laundry routine. In addition to the Method dryer sheets I recommended if you do wish to use a dryer, I've also discovered lavender dryer bags at Trader Joe's. They come four in a box (each bag will get 5-10 uses), and after their life cycle is over, you can sprinkle the florets on the carpet and vacuum.

Project Laundry List states among its principles that "Frugality, or thrift, needs to be a universally practiced virtue." Amen to that! Money is power, and it is time that Americans take charge and save money on their utility bills, which will certainly benefit Mother Earth.

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