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Cutting carbon ... whilst doing the washing!

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

**Abracadabra** …. transform yourself into a ‘washing wizard’!! How hard does your washing machine work … in one week … in one year?? Keep a tally this week - how many washes does your family do – you might be surprised! Why do you think this is relevant to climate change … how is your washing machine powered? Your challenge, as a ‘washing wizard’ is to 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 a 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 - wait until you have a full load to use less energy for each item of clothing. Don’t forget to wash at 30 degrees – it’s more energy efficient. As the ‘washing wizard’ you could even 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 actually made of plastic – like 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. These fibres are so tiny they pass through washing machine filters and water treatment plants, and end up in rivers and oceans. They then act like a sponge and absorb chemicals from the water, they’re often then consumed by plankton, or creatures at the bottom of the food chain – eventually ending up in our food and drinking water – yuck! In addition, microplastics in the oceans are also thought to reduce the oceans’ ability to absorb carbon. Find out more about Microplastics here.

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


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