Doing the dishes: The planet-friendly way

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Doing the dishes: The planet-friendly way

I’ve read all the arguments. And I know that people are devoted to their dishwashers. But I still can’t see how using electricity to run machine a for an hour or more can be more planet-friendly that doing the dishes by hand. Truly.

Dishwasher manufacturers are full of statistics about how cheap their appliances are to run but I’m not even remotely convinced. There’s not only the electrical energy to think about but what about my energy?

When I had a dishwasher, I had to spend time loading it efficiently. But before I could do that, I had to scrape plates and rinse pans, remove any food debris … by the time I’ve done that I might as well wash them too.

Then, when the machine has done its thing, I have to empty it and invariably clean the filter thingy because you can bet your life that some passing husband has bunged some pot or plate in there without doing the scraping and rinsing malarkey. That’s why have to scrape the bit of baked-on onion from  the wine glass. With my fingernail. Breaking it (either the nail or the glass) in the process.

Then, I have to clean the dishwasher. The sense of washing an item that’s supposed to do the washing escapes me.

Something I really don’t like about the dreaded machine is that ideally, and for fuel economy, it has to be fully-loaded before you run it.

There are two of us. This means that in order to have a fully-loaded dishwasher, I’d need at least four extra kitchen cupboards to  hold more plates and mugs and pots and pans and knives and forks and spatulas…

And then the quarter-full dishwasher, with yesterday’s dirty dishes lurking within it, glares at me every time I pass it. It’s as though it’s inviting me to consider that day old piece of onion or inadvertent tea bag that’s found it’s way in there … mouldering. Festering even.

What if I want the egg whisk? Oh, the egg whisk is dirty and in the dishwasher waiting for the machine to be full before I run it. So do I rummage in the dishwasher to find the egg whisk? Or do I decide we’ll eat something else instead? I don’t need these decisions. Deciding what to make for dinner is tricky enough without the realisation that, if I’m going to have a dishwasher I need multiple egg whisks. And wooden spoons. And colanders. And teapots. And everything.

I suppose the answer is to hand wash items such as the sieve and the bread knife and the frying pan and the slotted spoon and the tea strainer and the butter dish and the pie plate and the cutting board and the garlic press and the big mixing bowl … anything that doesn’t have a duplicate.

And whilst I’m doing that, there’s no point in wasting the warm, soapy water so I might as well wash the glasses and the plates and the cups and the knives and forks. Then, instead of that lovely warm water going automatically from the dishwasher to the drain, I can use it to wipe the kitchen surfaces and the floor and the fridge door … then use whatever water is left to water the plants outside my back door.

This is why my dishwasher ended up being a handy extra cupboard I used as a filing cabinet. Far more planet-friendly and a lot more useful.


 

Alternatively, get yourself one of these:

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Do the dishes yourself – dump the dishwasher

 

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

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Author: Jackie Jackson

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