It might sound surprising, but laundry can be a significant hit on the environment. The impact is from the many cycles of washing and drying we go through the year. The average family will do around 400 loads of laundry every year, using as much 13,500 gallons of water. Because it takes so much energy to heat the water and dry the clothes, any changes here will have a positive impact on your environmental footprint. Here are a few ways to do so:
Going from a normal to an Energy-Star certified front-loading washing machine can save the average household about 7,000 gallons of water. This can also lead to savings over the 10-year lifetime of a washing machine. In some cases, the savings can be as much as $550.
Probably the most effective way to reduce the strain on the environment would be to cut out the dryer. The dryer is the second most energy-heavy appliance in the average home and can cost as much as $90 per year in energy alone. Using a clothesline or rack can eliminate the need for a dryer.
Aside from the obvious garments, wearing clothes more before washing is another way to save water and energy. According to the United Nations Environment Programme did a study and found that we use five times less energy if jeans were worn thrice and washed in cold water. Levi’s jeans now recommend that jeans are washed every two weeks rather than daily.