Thursday, August 20, 2009

Agree to Disagree?

Agree to Disagree?

I need some help fleshing out an idea. I wanted to do something more environmentally friendly in my classroom. My idea? Nixing paper towels and switching to cotton washcloths. Hubby, my forever idea devil’s advocate, argues that I will expend more energy and waste more water than it is worth to use the towels. We did a little research and found that one load of laundry can use up to 40 gallons of water. I’m guessing that’s the largest load possible, so let’s say I use a large load and around 30-35 gallons of water. Also, in researching the water bit, it says if I only use cold or warm water I’m saving energy (no hot-water heater usage). One thing we couldn’t find is the energy expense it takes to run the washer.

However, I found a lot more information supporting my point of ditching the paper. Here’s a few:

My personal argument to hubby was about showers. If our shower allows a flow of up to three gallons per minute and I take a fifteen-minute shower that’s almost 45 gallons of water. And considering I take a shower (on average) of six times a week, that’s a whopping 270 gallons of water.

If I decrease my shower by five minutes, I’m saving around 15 gallons of water in one day, that’s 90 gallons a week. Which also equals two to three loads of laundry.

But what I can’t quite figure out is: I have 28 students and they wash their hands at least once a day (some kids twice) that would equal around 50 washcloths a day250 washcloths a week. How many washcloths can I fit in the washer? Is it worth all the fuss? This conundrum doesn’t even include asking families for washcloth donations. Which, by the way, I bought some at Meijer this evening, a twelve pack of washcloths was on sale for $3.99 (33 cents/cloth). Now, even if I could get half of the families to purchase washcloths that would only be 168 washclothsnot enough for one week. Ugh. Why can’t saving the earth be easier?

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions???

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