INDEPENDENT NEWS

Your clean laundry can leave a dirty carbon footprint

Published: Fri 24 Aug 2018 02:08 PM
Auckland, 24 August 2018. As recent Canstar Blue research reveals that only half of New Zealanders consider the energy rating on their new washing machine or clothes dryer, we look at how consumer complacency could be costing the earth.
Commenting on the findings, Canstar Blue’s Emma Quantrill says:
“The recent focus on our use of plastics has shown that we are concerned about the impact we have on our environment, but unfortunately the results of our latest survey show we can still be blinkered in certain areas of our lives. Because household appliances, especially the ones that heat up, need power, being aware of your machines energy rating and also being mindful of the settings you use, can reduce your carbon footprint and your power bill.”
It is widely estimated that on average our laundry habits (both washing and then tumble drying), produce around 440kg of CO2 emissions per household, per year. This equates to the same as running a car for 17 hours straight or using your TV for over three months without ever turning it off.
Why are CO2 emissions important?
In very basic terms, they are a part of a family of gases commonly referred to as ‘greenhouse gases’. Greenhouses gases absorb heat, but then importantly, radiate them, heating up the environment. Although they are a natural phenomenon, our use of fossil fuels to produce energy, is one of the major contributors to an increase in greenhouse gases and much talked about global warming.
How to cut your laundry carbon footprint
By law, all new washing machines and dryers must met certain standards and display an energy efficiency label when being sold in New Zealand. When reading the labels, the general rule of thumb is, the more stars it has, the more energy efficient it is. Always bear in mind that you can only make direct comparisons on similar machines, for example, you couldn’t compare a washing machine with an eight-litre capacity to that of one with a six-litre capacity. Other top tips for cutting you laundry carbon footprint (and your bills) include:
• If you’re in the market for a new washer, work out the size of washing machine that is right for you. Go too big, or too small, and you’re literally washing your money down the drain.
• Cut down on the amount of washing you do by waiting until you have a full load.
• Think about using cooler, or cold, setting on your washing machines. Modern machines are designed to wash just as well with cold water as they are with hot.
• Line dry when possible. Your tumble dryer is one energy hungry appliance.
• When you do use it, make sure your tumble dryer is properly vented. As well as making it more efficient, it will prolong the life of your machine as the motor does not need to work as hard.
ENDS

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