Tuesday, May 03, 2016

A sustainability miracle

Until about three years ago, I hadn't lived with a dishwasher since college -- over 40 years. We lived in older houses and kitchen improvements mattered less than many other things. Then we finally upgraded the kitchen enough to make it functional, and put in this magic machine:

And now one or the other of us remarks every third day: "I love having a dishwasher!"

But is this wonder appliance good for the planet or bad for the planet? Good for the water supply or bad for the water supply?

Fortunately, that essential environmental publication Grist provides an answer, one I found a little surprising.

Estimate how much time it would take you to wash all of your dishes:

If it’s two minutes or less for the entire batch: Hand wash.

If it’s over two minutes: Use the dishwasher.

The best option: If you have enough plates and cutlery to do so, put your dishes in the dishwasher each night, then run it when it’s completely full. ...

Turns out we've been doing this right and can feel virtuous when using the wonder appliance. It seems that

kitchen sinks spew about two to five gallons of water per minute. If you’re letting your sink run the entire time you’re washing dishes, you’ve already used the same amount of water as a dishwasher after two minutes.

I had no idea; I just thought we'd acquired a serviceable convenience.

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