Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's So Confusing, Being Green (Sometimes)!

So, now our dishwasher is broken. I am chalking our bad appliance luck to the Universe's effort to help me simplify. I've actually begun to enjoy washing dishes by hand as much as I enjoy hanging out laundry. It's very Zen.

However, I've been wondering if it is actually "greener" to wash dishes by hand or to wash them in the dishwasher. I don't run the water while I scrub, but even so it seems like it would take a lot more - soap, energy, water - to do each dish individually than to do a full load in the machine. But then, is it like the cloth vs. disposable diapers thing? I mean, it seems clear that cloth diapers are the greener option, yet people continue to insist that laundering them is worse for the environment than producing, shipping, and throwing away the paper ones.

Anyway...I've been meaning to research the dishwasher thing, but I've had a sick baby at home (still? again? I'm not sure) so my time has been limited for that sort of thing. But lo and behold, when I had him at the doctor this afternoon, I picked up the latest issue of Kiwi Magazine, and there was my answer! Isn't it nice when things work out like that?

According to the article "Do This, Not That", using the dishwasher uses much fewer resources than washing dishes by hand, particularly if you only run it when it's full. Most of the energy used by the dishwasher goes to heat the water, so you may as well make sure that water is washing as many dishes as possible. Plus, it uses much less soap and water to use the machine. So I guess it's time to call the repair person....


  1. It was so nice to find this post as this is an issue I've struggled with as well. Unfortunately, we rarely use the dishwasher because we run out of dishes (especially silverware) before it is completely full. Such a dilemma! I'm so glad I found your blog.

  2. Stefanie, I'm glad you found this blog too! Please visit often and tell your friends! :)