Community Commentary Opinion

Eco Minute: New life for an old idea

By James Wang, Encinitas

How would you like to save energy, save money, get some fresh air, and help save the world, all at the same time?

You do all of the above using an old invention: a clothesline.

But aren’t clotheslines obsolete now that we have clothes dryers?

Maybe … when dryers were invented, convenience was the only consideration. It seemed so easy to throw your wet clothes in the dryer and press the button. But now we’re more environmentally-conscious: we know that dryers have a few drawbacks too.

A dryer is a power hog: they use about 4000 Watts (or the equivalent if you use gas) of power – that’s like 40 incandescent lightbulbs, or 400 CFLs! There goes your utility bill, and your carbon footprint just grew a few sizes.

Now look at a clothesline: it uses only sunshine and air.  It’s no-cost, clean, silent, and carbon-free.  It’s gentler than the gentlest dryer setting. Your clothes won’t shrink, and they’ll get a fresh scent.

Is it a chore to use a clothesline?  Not really: most of us should get outside more often, and hanging your clothes is a good reason to do so.

Clotheslines come in many shapes and sizes: they can be indoors or outdoors, wall-mounted or freestanding, or made from rope, wire, or wood. Some even fold for storage.  Just pick the one that suits you best.

Clotheslines used to be considered eyesores. But now they demonstrate your environmental responsibility.

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