Our laundry routine is one place that we can take a look at to make small changes for a big impact. Whether it’s swapping out products or changing your overall habits, you’re bound to make an impact.
What to Do Before Washing Your Laundry
Laundry in and of itself has a significant impact on the planet. Just one load of laundry takes anywhere from fifteen to forty-five gallons of water, not to mention the amount of electricity washing machines eat up.
The easiest sustainable change you can make to lower that water intake? Wash your clothes less often. This will make them last longer and by extending the lifecycle of your clothes you’ll also save yourself the trouble of having to buy replacements (and the money, water, and energy involved in their production).
Washing our clothes also comes with another issue: microplastics getting in the ocean. Most of our clothes contain tiny plastic materials that enter the water system when washed, releasing about 10-12 million fibers per load.
Investing in a coraball, guppyfriend washing bag, or filtration system are amazing solutions to stop microplastics from entering our oceans. The coraball is a ball you throw into your laundry and it catches the microplastics. It takes a few washes to see the build-up of plastic, but as soon as you do, you’ll realize the impact you’ve made with this simple purchase. The guppyfriend bag is just like it sounds. It’s a bag you put your clothes in to prevent microplastic from leaving your washing machine. Finally, the most expensive option is installing a filtration system for your laundry machine, but it will get the job done.
I also recommend purchasing clothing made of sustainable materials that have minimal microplastics. This will make sure that less microfibers will end up in our beautiful oceans.
Tips to Keep in Mind While Loading Your Washer
All that being said, you’re still going to be washing your clothes. Here are some ways to minimize the energy and water burden that is involved with using a washing machine.
Wait until you have a full laundry load, and when you go to put them in try to wash all your clothes on the cold water setting. This takes far less energy and is suitable for almost all clothing types. This is impactful because the majority of the energy washing machines use is to heat water.
When it comes time to buy a new laundry machine, you can also see if you can invest in one that uses less water.
A small swap like using a minimal waste or plastic-free detergent brands like Dropps or Meliora helps reduce your plastic intake involved in your cleaning routine. Dropps makes laundry detergent pods that come straight to your door. They come in a recyclable and compostable box, but the pod itself is made of polyvinyl alcohol that can easily be dissolved. Meliora is a laundry detergent powder. It comes in a steel canister that can be recycled or reused and the ingredients are natural and not harmful to us or the planet.
Look into Alternative Drying Methods
Using a drying machine is more convenient, however drying machines use a lot of energy. A swap you can make when you have the time is opting for air-drying or utilizing a drying rack, which can usually be found for pretty cheap. It makes your clothes (especially bras and leggings) last longer. For these reasons, many Asian and European countries don’t even have drying machines and will just air-dry. Give it a shot next time you do your laundry!