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  • Lucy Bassett

How do I reduce my carbon footprint for my clothes & laundry?

Five top tips to reduce your carbon footprint

It doesn’t always take a drastic or expensive change to reduce your carbon footprint. :)

Did you know that 80% of carbon emissions associated with laundry occur at home? That’s right! When you wash with hot water (any appliance that heats water uses more energy than running the TV for example) and when you use the dryer, the energy required for those processes releases a lot of CO2.

Tip 1) Wash Clothes in Colder Water & Pretreat Stains When you use hotter water to wash your clothes, it requires carbon creating energy to heat that water up. Washing clothes at a lower temperature helps enormously. Apparently, according to Cold Water Saves, if your household switched to cold water washing for a year, you’d save enough energy to charge your iPhone over 30,000 times.

But not every detergent works well in cold water.

To help laundry wash well at a lower temperature, look for detergents that say they wash well at 30 degrees. Treat stains before washing by using a vegan friendly and recyclable stain remover such as Astonish fabric stain remover https://astonish.co.uk/products/fabric-stain-remover?variant=40260363223219 or check this article to help with general stains https://moralfibres.co.uk/natural-stain-remover-tips/

Astonish products are often available in local shops, Poundlands and stores such as QD.

Tip 2) Use a Sustainable Laundry Detergent One of the fastest growing products in the UK is Smol which I use at home. You can try these through a trial for 9 washes for £1 at the moment. The smol tabs and packaging are 100% plastic free, the cardboard boxes are delivered to your home and the tabs can be thrown into your machine where they disintegrate due to the polyvinyl alcohol casing. They also do a fabric conditioner without animal fat - good!

https://smolproducts.com/

Here's a list of other recommended laundry detergents from Good Housekeeping to try -

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/uk/product-reviews/house-garden/g36815448/best-eco-friendly-laundry-detergents/

Tip 3) Wash Less, Wear Longer Do you really need to wash your clothes every time you wear them? Unless they are stained and sweaty there is no need to wash them each time you wear them. Washing your clothes frequently diminishes their quality, breaks them down faster, and fades their colour. If your clothes have picked up a scent e.g. cigarette smoke can you air out the smell by putting outside on the line rather than washing?

Tip 4) Dry Clothes Outside Or Use Dryer Balls If you have the space and the time, sit or hang your clothes outside to dry! Dryers can require a lot of energy and generate a lot of carbon emissions as a result. The sun is THE renewable energy source, so it gets the drying job done! If you want a less harsh drying situation, you can always hang items on an airer or your shower rod or somewhere within your house where they still get enough air to dry. Please check this article if you're thinking of buying an airer, less energy than the dryer!

https://www.standard.co.uk/shopping/esbest/home-garden/household-appliances/best-heated-clothes-airers-electric-indoor-foldable-a4314511.html


Mini tips - hanging shirts in a steamy environment can help creases to drop out. Hanging clothes inside out in the sun helps reduce colour fade.


What are dryer balls and how do they help?


Dryer balls can be made or wool, plastic or rubber and they work by getting in between the laundry in the dryer so the fabrics don't bunch together and more warm air is circulated. They can reduce drying times by up to 25%,

They can be used instead of dryer sheets to reduce static, just spray them with a light mist of water before putting them in the dryer. Normally they have no scent which can be an pro or a con depending on if you like scent! A few drops of essential oils can be added to the wool balls if you like a fragrance.

I prefer the wool balls as it's better than using plastic and they don't make any noise rolling around in the tub!


See this link for how many good reviews wool dryer balls are getting -

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dryer-balls/s?k=dryer+balls&s=review-rank&qid=1629456011&ref=sr_st_review-rank


Tip 5) Last And Probably The Most Important

Be aware of micro plastics from your laundry getting into our waterways and the sea. Micro plastics are tiny and are shed every time you wash laundry, they get into the sea and then into the food chain through being consumed by sea creatures.


To prevent this happening you can use a guppy bag, this is mainly recommended for synthetic clothes (usually sports clothes, outdoor clothes and clothes with a lot of 'stretch') however all laundry sheds fibres. You can buy a guppy bag from the link below or high street stores such as Lakeland.

https://en.guppyfriend.com/


Follow the above tips to wash less frequently and dry outdoors and this will help reduce micro plastics too.


France has adopted a law to mandate that all new washing machines will have filters fitted by 2025 to reduce micro plastics getting into the sea. The first country to do so.


The Marine Conservation Society are campaigning for this to happen in the UK, here is a link to their petition :)

https://www.mcsuk.org/what-you-can-do/campaigns/stop-ocean-threads/


Let's hope they're successful!




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