PENNSYLVANIA, USA — It might not be your first thought, but did you know your laundry routine could be contributing to climate change?
This is why FOX43 spoke with Ryan McKenzie, co-founder of Tru Earth, a company that works to help solve the climate change crisis by creating products that help reduce plastic waste. One of their most popular products is their laundry strips, which are made of polyvinyl alcohol, rather than plastic, and therefore completely dissolve in water when you do a load of laundry.
McKenzie shared some ways you can be more eco-conscious when doing this every day chore.
First, he says, look for alternatives to traditional detergent. Most laundry detergent is packed with plastic.
According to National Geographic, 91% of plastic is not recycled and takes 400 years to break down. Around the globe, 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic has become waste in landfills and oceans globally over the past 65 years.
"That's 700 million jugs that can't be recycled in just North America," McKenzie said.
Second, cut back on the amount of soap used per load. The average consumer overdoses on laundry detergent by 30%. McKenzie says if you need to run a rinse cycle on your clothes, you're using too much.
"The majority of the cleaning action that happens in your washing machine comes from agitation," he said.
Third, make sure your washer and dryer are energy-efficient and consider cold water. According to Energy Star, 90% of the energy from washing machines is used to heat the water.
The EPA says switching 4 out of 5 loads of laundry to cold water could cut out 864 pounds of CO2 emissions in a year. That same study found that a full washing machine uses around 20 gallons of water per load, while an ENERGY STAR-certified washer uses about 14 gallons.
Fourth, re-wear your clothing to avoid extra washing. Even the most energy-efficient option for a washer and dryer can be costly and can add more than $115 a year to your electricity bill.
This is why McKenzie suggests wearing heavier garments like denim more than once and air dry when a regular dryer cycle is not needed.
Finally, remember you can make a difference.
"It might not feel like you can have that much impact but getting 200 million people all to make one little change adds up to massive impact," he said.
To hear more of what McKenzie had to say, check out the clip above.