Thursday, 15 August 2013

Washing up

On my to do list this August is to get the washing up done. It does usually get completed daily anyway but it can be known to hang around for a while sometimes - I hate doing it! More often than not my boys are badgered into helping too but the whole process feels like such a hassle.

We are well into the summer holidays now and I find that, even though my boys do not attend school, it has a very different vibe to the rest of the year. Partly due to visitors and partly due to less going out ourselves. Getting the washing up done immediately can make a big difference to the flow of the day. We're more inclined to make the most of our time if chores are completed promptly.

I used to have a dishwasher (which I loved) but we didn't bring it here. There was no room for it and I'm not inclined to find space as washing by hand really doesn't take much longer, it just feels like it! I also cannot accept that dishwashers are greener though the more hygienic message I can agree with - hand washing cannot compete with really hot water. Here's a Guardian article from 2010 that basically states that it depends on how you wash your dishes. They have calculated the carbon cost of dishwashing (the energy cost of production of the dishwasher is included in these figures though it says nothing about the disposal cost, for hand washing it assumes gas heated water):
The carbon footprint of doing the dishes:
Almost zero CO2e: by hand in cold water (but the plates aren't clean)
540g CO2e: by hand, using water sparingly and not too hot
770g CO2e: in a dishwasher at 55°C
990g CO2e: in a dishwasher at 65°C
8000g CO2e: by hand, with extravagant use of water
Apparently most people who wash by hand do it with tap continuously running, hence the 8000g figure. Having never seen this happen on a regular basis I am a bit dubious. On a personal front our hot water is heated throughout the summer by the sun, in winter with help from a woodburning boiler so our carbon cost will be substantially lower. I am also lucky enough to have two sinks which are both filled with bowls (less water needed) to create a washing sink and a rinsing sink (just hot water). By using a rinsing bowl it is incredible how much washing up can be completed with just a little water. The rinsing water stays hot too as items are not left in it for long.

When I first started typing I wasn't expecting to travel down the eco side of washing up! Back to the original plan: this won't be a long term change, I know myself too well! But I can do this for one month.

The carbon footprint figures have been lifted straight from the Guardian article which references the book, 'How Bad Are Bananas?: The carbon footprint of everything' by Mike Berners-Lee.

No comments:

Post a Comment