The past and future of laundry
Carl Tashian

Just spent three months in Austria, one of the richest countries in Europe. Hardly anyone has a dryer, at least in my circle of friends and acquaintances. Actually, none of them had a drier. When I asked about this, the answers were always the same: Dryer wear out your clothes really fast, and, using dryers is a total waste of energy. people who don’t have access to an outside clothesline simply use a drying rack on a patio or inside.

How much energy would we save and by what amount would we reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. if we stopped using dryers?

We’re talking about an advanced industrial society that seems to have made a collective choice to not use an appliance that we take for granted.

To me, that’s emblematic of some of the many individual and collective choices we need to make to tame the global warming dragon. It’s not enough to just keep inventing more efficient things; sometimes we need to ask fundamental questions about whether we really need those things in the first place.

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