Stuff that makes it easy being green
1. From soap to nuts. Biodegradable detergents are increasingly easy to find, and (bonus!) most of them also come in recyclable packaging. Ecover offers 100 percent biodegradable laundry wash, laundry powder, stain remover, fabric softener, and non-chlorine bleach. Sensitive types should try Seventh Generation's Free & Clear line, or Arm and Hammer's dye- and fragrance-free Essentials Liquid Laundry detergent. A lesser-known alternative is Cleanut, which is made from soapnut extracts. 2. Be water wise. The type of washing machine you use can make a big difference when it comes to saving energy, water, and quite a few pennies. The most eco-efficient machines receive the Energy Star label, so if it's time to buy a new one, look for a model with the organization's seal of approval. Also, front-loading (or horizontal axis) machines, such as Bosch's Nexxt Washers use significantly less water and energy; their annual water usage is about 5,200 gallons per year, while the average top-loading washing machine uses almost twice as much.
3. Catch some air. With the right tools, air-drying clothes isn't such a chore. For anyone with some space outside, a simple clothesline is ideal. Apartment dwellers can use winged and A-framed racks, which are simple, space-saving devices that can be placed over a bath tub, or traditional wood drying racks, which are available ubiquitously. Sara Snow has more tips below.
Did you know?
- For most clothes, the vast majority of energy consumed over the life of garment comes from washing, drying, and ironing-not manufacture or distribution. Greening your wardrobe isn't just about wearing organic cotton and hemp-it's also about how you care for your clothes.
- Using cold water, instead of hot, to do the laundry can reduce the energy used for washing clothes by as much as 60 percent.
- Line-drying your family's laundry can save about 700 pounds of carbon dioxide from escaping in the air each year and $75, according to StopGlobalWarming.org.
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