• Simcoe-Grey Greens

Week 14: Hung Out to Dry

by Sherri Jackson and Laurel Hood, 52 Weeks of Climate Action

Sun and wind. Free gifts of energy that nature provides us. Endless and constant sources that we can use to power almost everything you can think of. So, this week, we’re going to use some of that power in the simplest way possible. We’re going to hang out our laundry. I’m not sure when clothes lines got such a bad wrap, but let’s put that to bed. White sheets flapping on the breeze is a lovely sight, so if your community has banned clothes lines, you need to get on your council to get with the program. Everybody has clothes. Everybody does laundry. It’s a simple way to save a ton of energy, and money.

Challenge 14: Ditch your clothes dryer.

Hang all your laundry to dry for this week (good). Commit to using a clothesline all summer (better); Hang your laundry to dry, inside or outside, year round (best). Did you know that air-drying your clothes can reduce your family’s carbon output by 2,400 pounds per year? That’s a huge amount. And if we all line-dried our clothes for just half a year, we’d reduce our country’s total residential carbon output by 3.3%.  Beyond the environmental benefits, think about how much money your wardrobe is worth. Most people have between $3,000-$7,000 invested in their clothing, including shoes and accessories. If you don’t think so, take a little inventory yourself, and calculate how much it would cost you to replace each item. Then take a look at your average load of laundry. With every load, you’re washing at least a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff. So, doesn’t it make sense to take better care of it, so you don’t have to replace it so often? Clothes dryers are really hard on our clothing. They put wear and strain on zippers and seams. Clothes get tangled up together. They get faded. High heat can melt or shrink garments and cause irreversible damage. Air-drying will prolong the life of your clothing, and save you money. Clotheslines are awesome. Sure, it takes longer than transferring a load from your washer to your dryer. But, the benefits are worth it. No need for fabric softener, or dryer sheets. Air drying releases odours and leaves your clothes smelling fresh, clean and naturally scented. And your whites will be naturally bleached by the sun, killing germs and eliminating the need for chemical bleaches.  On a sunny, hot day, your clothes will dry almost as quickly as in your dryer. One load on the line can dry in as little as 40 minutes.  The average household spends approximately $2,000 per year to operate their clothes dryer. And, the cost of purchasing a new clothesline versus a new dryer is obvious.  And then there’s the joy of spending 10 minutes outside in the quiet of the day, taking time to stand in the sun and simply hang laundry. It’s peaceful, and kind of enjoyable. And get this - hanging a load of laundry burns about 68 calories. That’s almost a glass of wine, or a little chocolate. I’m just saying... Clothes line technology has improved since our grandma’s day. You can still get the old wheel and line systems, or a standard umbrella style. But now there are many options for sleeker, more invisible options. There are full-sized clothes lines, like Brabantia, that fold up tight. against your wall, hidden by a cover, when you’re not using them, and simply pull out and click when you need them. So, treat your clothes with a little love, and head outdoors this week to hang your laundry. Save yourself a few dollars, reduce your carbon footprint, and earn yourself a treat in the process. A win win all around!

Yours in sustainability, Sherri Jackson & Laurel Hood 52 Weeks of Climate Action was created by Sherri Jackson and Laurel Hood. Sherri is a writer, speaker and musician. She is the candidate of record and communications coordinator for the Simcoe-Grey Greens. Laurel Hood, is a retired secondary teacher, transportation lead for the Collingwood Climate Action Team, and volunteer coordinator for the Simcoe-Grey Greens. Visit our blog or sign up at www.52weeksofclimateaction.com.

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