Right-to-Dry Movement Promotes Clotheslines

Do you like to save money?  Me too.  I found an online calculator this week that shows my household could potentially save nearly $350 each year by changing one little habit.  We could line-dry our laundry instead of running up approximately 5 percent of our energy bill to run our electric dryer.  Now that my husband has built our backyard clothesline, we can save at least some money and lots of carbon dioxide emissions by letting the sun and a fresh breeze do the work for us.  Some places we've lived, our neighborhood association rules would not have allowed this freedom to air our laundry.  But a quiet domestic revolution is slowly changing that.

Project Laundry List has been at the center of a grassroots movement to reinstate what activists call the right to dry.  The Project has used tongue-in-cheek humor to get people's attention, along with some convincing facts.  The group says that if the 92-percent of Americans who aren't line-drying would do so for 10 months out of the year, we'd keep 12-million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering our atmosphere annually.  Even if you don't consider yourself an environmentalist, chances are you're interested in reducing your power bill each month.  Here's the link to the Project's cost calculator of your laundry habits.

Colorado, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont now have laws on the books allowing residents to use clotheslines, even if homeowners' groups object.  Project Laundry List spokesperson Laura Shafer says right-to-dry laws are in the works in a half-dozen other states, as well.  She admits that there has been a stigma about clotheslines, often because of their association with poverty in previous generations.  Once they could afford a clothes dryer, middle and upper income folks considered it a status symbol.  Now, line-drying is becoming chic, especially since more of us have become financially stretched and environmentally concerned.  

"People really do want to make a difference," states Shafer.  She's a self-proclaimed clothesline enthusiast, who appreciates the artform of clothesline photos and well-constructed clotheslines like the redwood ones that she and her husband make. Shafer advocated for residents of a federally subsidized housing project for seniors in Sonoma County, California, where after much public discussion, people were finally allowed to line-dry their own laundry.  "I really feel like I'm doing something effective."

Tomorrow:  clothesline drying tips...

Labels: , , , ,