Saturday, November 26, 2011

Doing Your Dishes Green

ConvenientSo a few months ago I moved with my family to a different house which doesn't have a dishwasher. It's been a real adjustment since we moved in to taking the time each night (and often throughout the day to hand wash all the dishes). Yesterday my wife came back from the market with new dish sponges that were supposed to be a green product. It got me to thinking about the whole dirty dish process in our house and the environment. 

Are the sponges really "Green"?

The first question I thought about was if the sponges were really green. The problem with green products is that the word "Green" is relative. I mean the definition of green is that it is good for the environment. But really what the heck do I know about sponges anyway? So for all I know they could actually have a worse environmental impact the the regular sponges we had been using. But since they say "Green" on the label my wife and I was assuming they are better for the planet.

How much better? Who really knows?  That the other problem with Green being a relative term. So say they are just a very tiny amount better for the environment. Like so little that it really makes no impact as far as saving the planet. But I'll still pay an extra dollar for two of them because I feel like I'm doing my part. There are products out there that I know a good amount about and can make an educated decision as far as their impact but when it comes to sponges I guess I'm just counting on the label. I wish there was some kind of standard or rating system that you know know for sure how much good you are doing.

Hand washing dishes vs. a Dishwasher

The next thing I got thinking about is what impact am I having on the planet by hand washing my dishes now compared to a dishwater? I mean there is the electrical and water cost to running a dishwasher. But when I do them by hand I'm going to guess that I'm really using more water then what a new modern dishwasher would use. I'm also thinking that any electricity used by the dishwasher would be compensated for buy the efficiency of the dishwasher over hand washing.

Now like all appliances not all dishwashers are made the same. You need to look for the Energy Star label and then look for the best Energy Start appliance you can afford. But assuming you have a really efficient model I'm thinking I'm using more energy (not even including my own) but hand washing. And a dishwasher is going to really wash them better and remove more germs in it's process.

So I guess that's it. I need to get out dishwasher shopping and start saving money and time (and not to mention my feet and back!). Good thing my wife bought those Green sponges!

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