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Take the Clean Underwear/Clean Earth Challenge

Several months back I challenged all of you to “spare a square:” to reduce the amount of toilet paper you use by 50% at each sitting and to use recycled T.P. whenever possible.  This challenge was met with great response.

 Now I pose a new challenge: Dust off your clothespins and reduce the use of your clothes dryer!  I will share some (shocking!) facts about dryer use and the environment and my personal challenge commitment.  I encourage you all to post your challenge commitments and follow-up to let us know how your doing!


A Few Facts About the Clothes Dryer:

  • Clothes dryers are the second largest energy eater in American homes (second to the refrigerator)
  • 80% of U.S. homes have a clothes dryer (as compared with 3-4% in Italy)
  • U.S. electric bills would be reduced 10-20% if use of clothes dryers was eliminated.
  • In 2005, there were 88 million clothes dryers in America; these dryers create 2,224 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
  • More house fires are caused by clothes dryers than any other household appliance.

 Now, I’m not going to lie.  I love my clothes dryer.  I love how soft and fluffy the clothes come out; I love how sweet they smell; I love that I can put a wrinkly pair of pants in there for a few minutes and they come out looking freshly pressed.  And most of all, I love that 45 minutes after I wash my clothes, they are 100% dry and closet-ready.  Ah, the convenience of it all. 

That being said, I am ready to challenge myself to reduce my carbon footprint by addressing my tumble-dry addiction.  With a new infant in the home, I spend a fair amount of time to do laundry, and I am not ready to quit cold turkey.  So here is my challenge pledge:


1. I will purchase a drying rack (a good place to start, right?)

2. I will hang-dry at least 2 loads of laundry per week (about 1/3 of my laundry)


While that doesn’t seem like much, if every home cut their dryer use by 1/3, we could reduce carbon emissions from 2,224 pounds to 1,482, a significant decrease, and a good start to address our American energy over-consumption problem.   

Now it’s your turn to take a close look at your dryer habits, and see what works for you.  Even if you start by only committing to one load per month, this can be the start of a habit change, and will begin to make an impact on the environment. If the majority of the rainy UK, can do it, so can we! Happy Hanging!!



Count me in!

All I have to say about this fact:  "Clothes dryers are the second largest energy eater in American homes (second to the refrigerator)"  is WOW!!  Fridges are pretty necessary, but for a non-essential appliance, it's amazing how much energy dryers use.  This is a great challenge.  We try to air dry a lot of our laundry, but probably not enough. 

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