Energy is required to wash clothes. This energy takes three major forms:

 

 

The majority of washing machines in Australia are powered by electricity. In Australia we rely heavily on electricity production from the burning of fossil fuels. This releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions have been linked to climate change. In 2008, Australia was reported to have the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any OECD country (The Garnaut Climate Change Review 2008).

 

Energy is also needed for the manufacture of any product. Washing machines, laundry detergents, clothing, towels and bed linen all have energy costs associated with their production (including the energy required to prepare their raw materials), their packaging, transport, and even their disposal).