Green Kitchen Tip #6
Since beginning a re-model on our kitchen, I’ve had the opportunity to chose new, more energy efficient appliances. I actually got lucky on timing my purchases, because shortly after buying my new ones, the old ones began to fail. However, the one appliance I’ve held off on buying is a dishwasher.
Our kitchen came complete with ivory & black appliances from what I suspect was the 1980’s. Along with the giant side-by-side energy guzzling refrigerator, we inherited a standard electric range and a dishwasher that I refused to ever run. My rationale was that it consumed far more water and energy than I would ever use by handwashing two people’s dishes. Besides, I later justified, those detergents are more harmful than dish soap.
Times change, and now it actually costs more in energy and water, not to mention potentially productive hours, to get those dishes cleaned up by hand, than it does to use a modern dishwasher. Now I’m finding that the reasons to get a dishwasher are stacking up against me:
Scientists at the University of Bonn in Germany who studied the issue found that the dishwasher uses only half the energy, one-sixth of the water, and less soap than hand-washing an identical set of dirty dishes. Even the most sparing and careful washers could not beat the modern dishwasher. The study also found that dishwashers excelled in cleanliness over hand washing. (source)
Modern dishwashers heat water inside the machine, so heat is not dissipated on its journey through the piping from the home water heater, as it is in older machines.
But, all things considered, in order to minimize your impact on the environment, please follow these tips:
- Wait until you have a full load to wash in the dishwasher
- Don’t pre-rinse
- Air dry
- Use an environmentally friendly detergent, such as Seventh Generation.
Now is a great time to shop for a new dishwasher, because the Energy Star requirements for energy efficiency just became stricter, as of January 1, 2007.
If you chose to upgrade your dishwasher or other appliances, find a recycling facility in your area for your old appliances. Large household appliances are known as “white goods” – a relic from the old days when they were finished with white enamel.
Labels: environmental impact