Waterless washing machine – a step too far.

Story here culled from from news.com about a new type of washing machine (called Xeros?) developed in the UK that uses just one cup of water, yet cleans a full wash and leaves the clothes virtually dry. Seems instead of all that water, the machine uses the cupful to loosen the dirt, then 20 kilos of plastic chips absorb and remove it leaving the clothes fresh and clean.

Well ok the chips can be used a 100 times, the machine uses far less water and energy than the usual machines, and yet… whilst it all sounds good in theory, I’m wondering how much water and energy are actually going to be saved in total.

For example, how much energy and water will be used to create the chips? And 20 kilos is one hell of a lot of plastic to be using for just 100 cycles of a washing machine!

In our house for example, the wife handles the washing and does uses at least 6 – 10 full loads a week. This means we’d need to buy a new load of ‘chips’ every couple of months, and that depends on how dirty the clothes get. The dirtier they are, the fewer times you can use them.

So if this technology took off, instead of using billions of litres of a renewable and recyclable element like water… we could end up using untold millions of tonnes of plastics with god only knows what effects on the environment. Multiply the 20 kilos with just the 30,000,000 dwellings in the UK and you begin to see the *massive* disposal issues that could arise if it was adopted.

Can these things be recycled? If so, how much does it cost to do that and will that use more energy and water than using the old fashioned machines to begin with?

Seems like ‘progress’ for the sake of progress to me and hang the consequences. Maybe we should all get back to the river and start bashing our clothes with rocks again??


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