Tiny steps you take everyday can make a huge difference in the impact you can have on the planet. If you are a beginner, slightly altering your laundry habits can not only save water but also save in your power bills and conserve energy.
Ninety-two percent of American households own clothes dryers. In comparison, less than 4% of Italian households own dryers. Further, eighty percent of American households dry between 2 and 9 loads per week, not to mention the millions of us who use multi-housing laundry or coin-operated laundry facilities. Pretty shocking right? If that weren’t enough, while a quarter of Americans use Energy Star washers, there are no Energy Star dryers on the market, further compounding the amount of energy we use to dry our clothes.*
Just by line drying even one of the loads you do a week you can make a significant impact. Project Laundry List, an organization dedicated to helping people line dry their clothing, estimates that about 8% of households in the United States line dry their clothes during 5 months of the year. According to them, if all Americans line dried their clothes for ten months a year, we could avoid 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year from entering the atmosphere. That’s the same as the annual greenhouse gas emission from 2.2 million cars or 3 coal fired power plants.
Needless to say, we aren’t talking about small fries here!
The problem is that while there are more than 300,000 community associations, but the majority of them restrict or ban clotheslines. In response, Levi Strauss & Co. is encouraging consumers to think differently about their laundry habits with its “Care Tag for Our Planet” campaign and now with its “Care to Air” contest. The company is working to spread the word about the positive environmental impact of line drying and encourage creative design solutions that may change the way people dry their clothes.
Starting on June 1, you can submit original air-drying solutions as part of Levi’s “Care to Air” contest, with the chance to win $10,000 in prizes. The company is looking for the next generation of air drying design ideas that will improve or replace the typical clothesline. Design ideas will be accepted from June 1- July 31, 2010, and winners will be announced on August 16. Full contest details are available on www.levi.com/care.
The best part of changing your laundry habits is that your clothes will last longer (don’t you wonder where all that lint came from?), sunlight bleaches and sanitizes your clothes, and air dried clothes smell great without chemicals! Considering 23.8 billion pounds of clothing and textiles end up in landfills each year.
In case you need an extra kick to make some change in your laundry you can also promise to care for your jeans and the planet by taking the Care Tag Pledge on-line at www.levi.com/care, vowing to washing in cold, washing less, line drying and donating unwanted clothing to Goodwill®.