Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Are washing machines as labor-saving devices sustainable?

When I'm doing our laundry in our apartment building's laundry room, I often ponder how many person-hours of work laundry entailed before the washing machine was invented, as well as whether washing machines are at all sustainable. In our old house, we had one washing machine for five people; in our new building, there are two washing machines for ten apartments (with twenty-seven people in all). If all the world's eight billion people had access to an industrial, energy-efficient, labor-saving washing machine (at a rate of one per twenty people, say), would the energy and resources involved in building, transporting, using, and maintaining those four hundred million machines overwhelm the climate? (Andrew Shields, #111words, 16 November 2022)

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