Get your sh*t together

A series educating on how we can all get our collective.. well, sh*t together for a more sustainable planet.

Words by Sarah Hickerson


 

We’re back with our fourth edition of Get Your Sh*t Together! Now that we’ve covered the bathroom, the kitchen, and the bedroom, it’s time to move on to a perhaps more dreaded room: the laundry room. While we know laundry can be a dread to complete, it can also have dreadful effects on our Earth, so let’s tackle helping the environment. Here are 11 tips on how to make your laundry-doing more eco-friendly.

First, some general tidbits:

1. Wear clothes more than once

While this may be an obvious one, putting it into practice can really help eliminate using a lot of unnecessary materials, energy and water. As long as your clothes aren’t visibly dirty and don’t smell, why not wear them a few times before washing them? It’ll save both you and the environment energy.

2. Only wash full loads

Though you may be tempted to do a load of laundry just to wash one item of clothing you want to wear, try to wait until you have a full load. The less loads of laundry, the better.

3. Upgrade washers and dryers

If you’re considering buying a new washer and dryer, try to read the product information in order to find machines that are energy efficient. Though it may be a bit more expensive, it will save you money by helping to decrease your water and electricity bills in the long run!

4. Wash using cold water

Around 90% of the energy used to do laundry can be attributed to heating up the water when you change your laundry setting to anything but cold. Turn the dial on your washing machine to cold to help reduce energy used (and the costs associated with it).

Now onto some product-specific tips:

5. Use concentrated laundry detergent

Concentrated laundry detergents have all of the same ingredients as your average laundry detergent, but less water. Water does very little as an ingredient in detergent (especially considering, well, it’s mixed with water from your washing machine)-- reducing this water allows for smaller packaging, less plastic, and less materials to produce. Concentrated laundry detergent has a smaller carbon footprint, and thereby a better impact on the environment.

6. Use green laundry detergent

While concentrated laundry detergent certainly helps the environment, green laundry detergent takes it one step further. Detergents can contain ingredients like phosphate that can cause algae blooms and negatively impact aquatic life when they get out into the environment and run off into our waters. The solution? Look for detergent that is biodegradable, phosphate-free or has plant based ingredients.

7. Switch to natural stain removers

Like detergent, stain removers can contain ingredients that are harmful to the environment. Natural products are usually free of chlorine and bleach, and tend to contain plant-based products that are better for your own health anyways. Next time you’re shopping for stain removers, read the labels to see if you can find a more eco-friendly option that suits your needs.

Lastly, venture out of the laundry room!

8. Hang it out to dry

On average, your dryer emits more than a ton of carbon dioxide per year, and there are around 88 million dryers in the U.S. alone. That’s a lot of carbon dioxide. Not only does this benefit the environment, but using a clothing line is also less risky than putting clothes in the dryer where they can tear or shrink. Reduce the amount of CO2 being released to the environment by hanging your clothes up to try.

Not only will making these changes to your laundry room help the environment, but they’re better for your health and electrical and water bills as well. Next time you do laundry or take a trip to the store to buy laundry products, remember this article-- little changes make a big difference!


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