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Washing Your Carbon Footprint Away?

By: Kathryn Senior PhD - Updated: 21 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Washing Carbon Footprint Fossil Fuels

Reducing your carbon footprint can involve using less water, which contains not carbon at all. The reality is that heating water does use up carbon, quite a lot of it in the form of fossil fuels. Cutting back on your usage of hot and heated water could reduce your carbon footprint substantially if you plan and think carefully how you wash yourself, your clothes and your dishes.

Having an Ecofriendly Wash

Showering is generally regarded as more ecofriendly than bathing in a bath tub. A shower that lasts about five minutes can get you just as clean as a long soak in the bath and you can save £2.50 per year on your water heating bills if you make this change just once a week. Having a shower uses less hot water, and water in general. The savings for people and households that have water meters is even greater – around an extra £7.50 per year. So, saving £10 per year may not seem that much, but if you are living in a household with four, five or six people, multiplying this saving can add up to something substantial.

Lowering the Carbon Footprint of Washing Up

Washing up is one of the least favourite jobs for most people, no matter what age they are. There may not be very easy ways to make the job more pleasant, but can you make do it in ways that reduce your carbon footprint? If you have a dishwasher, one way to do this is always to run the machine when it is fully loaded. Running a cycle, even an ecocycle when the dishwasher is only half or three quarters full is a real waste, and uses more heating fuels and more water than running the appliance when it’s full. It’s also a good idea if you are buying a new dishwasher, to make sure it is A-rated for efficiency. That means that every time you use it in the future, you will reduce your carbon footprint – and save money.

Sink or Dishwasher?

Using a dishwasher may be convenient but does it really take that much more time to wash up in the sink? Using a sink of hot water with washing up liquid can be quite efficient, and gets the dishes just as clean. You are allowed to change the water two or even three times but the traditional advice of doing the glasses and clean stuff first, followed by the plates, and more heavily soiled pans, is very ecofriendly. After a while, it just becomes a good habit.

Doing the Laundry with the Environment in Mind

Most people also hate doing the washing but its something that we can’t avoid. Just like a dishwasher, a washing machine is much more efficient on power usage and water usage when it is full rather than half full. Save your clothes up in a laundry basket so that you do several large loads of coloured cloths and light coloured clothes, rather than small loads every day.

Don’t Run the Hot Tap Down the Sink

Many of us as guilty of this. We rinse either our hands, or glasses or mugs and wash in hot water without the plug in the sink. The trouble is, you never realise just how much water you are just letting run away. Where possible, remember to use the cold tap to rinse stuff. You can turn it off in between brushing your teeth, you can rinse vegetables in cold water, and you can rinse glasses and mugs too, once they have been washed in a bowl of hot water and detergent.

Washing Your Car

If you have a car, you are probably working hard to reduce its impact on your carbon footprint by walking on short journeys, planning journeys carefully and by running the most efficient model. But have you thought about the way that you wash your car? Going to a car wash or jet wash may use a lot of hot water. Using a bucket and sponge and some elbow grease can be kinder on the environment, and it might help you burn off a few extra calories too.

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I was thinking that perhaps this article could be condensed into a few short tips, with the full text beneath. I already shower rather than bath. Is a £2.50 a year saving going to convince anyone? Is there a more graphic way of representing this?I hope these comments are useful.Garry
stimpetta - 20-Jun-11 @ 8:21 PM
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