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  • Young Climate Warriors

Become a 'washing wizard'!

Updated: Jun 30, 2022

How hard do you make your washing machine work … in one week … in one year?? Can you help your parent/carer count how many washes you do in a week – you might be surprised! Why do you think this is relevant to climate change? … Well, how is your washing machine powered? Your challenge this week is to be the ‘washing wizard’ and make some of the laundry pile disappear!

As a Young Climate Warrior can you STOP and ask yourself two questions before putting your clothes in the wash basket? Is your uniform or pair of shorts really dirty or is it just habit to dump it onto the pile for the washing machine? Could you use a flannel to ‘spot’ clean your clothes (the yoghurt from your top?!) and then dry it over a chair so it’s waiting for you the next morning?

Sometimes your clothes really do need to get soaked, rinsed and spun - can you help your parent/carer load the washing machine? Can you wait until you have a full load - this will use less energy for each item of clothing? Can you make your normal washing machine cycle 30 degrees? Maybe as the ‘washing wizard’ you could dazzle your parent/carer by offering to hang up the washing to dry outside?

It’s not just the electricity used that’s an issue. A lot of the clothes we wear – like fleeces and sports tops - are made of plastics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic. Every time they’re washed in a washing machine they release an average of 700,000 tiny plastic fibres - thinner than a strand of hair. They are so tiny that they pass through washing machine filters and water treatment plants, and end up in rivers and oceans. Here they act like a sponge and absorb chemicals, and they are then consumed by animals at the bottom of the food chain such as plankton and mussels. Microplastics in the oceans are thought to reduce their ability to absorb carbon and eventually, they can also end up in our food and drinking water. Yuck! If you’re interested, you could learn more about microplastics from the Natural History Museum page.

When you have become a ‘washing wizard’ and helped make the laundry pile disappear –remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON!


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