Sustainability starts at home: eco-friendly household appliances

Given that sustainable urban living is our pet topic this month, we’ve compiled a list of eco-friendly household appliances that will minimise your household’s impact on the environment (some will even help you keep fit!).

Autor*in Anna Rees, 09.25.12

Given that sustainable urban living is our pet topic this month, we’ve compiled a list of eco-friendly household appliances that will minimise your household’s impact on the environment (some will even help you keep fit!).

Oil has made our lives that much easier. No really, stay with me here. The proliferation of oil has meant that we have been able to invent, build and run a gazillion tools and appliances to do all our work for us from washing our clothes to cooking our food. All we have to do is push a button. Easier, yes. Better? Well, that’s debatable.

These tools and appliances run on a lot of emissions-producing energy, contributing to the already-astronomical levels of harmful gasses hovering in our atmosphere. These appliances also take the legwork out of some tasks, adding to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. To help reverse these trends, some cunning inventors have developed a whole swag of appliances that cut emissions drastically (some almost altogether), with some even helping you keep fit. Check out the list below.

Eco-friendly laundry. Invented by a group of students, the Dhobi washing machine fuses pedal power with contemporary machine washing. Regular washing machines rely on an electricity-powered motor to turn the inner drums and wash clothes. The Dhobi requires you to pedal. This pedalling turns the inner shafts which in turn, spin the drums. The machine requires no electricity, just manpower and it is estimated that it could save up Rs 740 per month on electrical bills.

Green wallpaper. No we don’t actually mean green-coloured wallpaper. DecorCoat uses cotton fibre, paper products and other recycled materials that are low on Volatile Organic Compounds and is vastly better for your health and the environment than chemical-heavy paint and conventional wallpaper. 

Solar and Hybrid solar ovens. Here is the best “for” argument when it comes to solar-powered cooking: some people simply believe the food tastes better. Need a little more prompting? Solar-powered ovens can last upwards of 15 years, have zero running costs, require very little maintenance and of course have minimal to no impact on the environment. Check these links for manufacturers and sales points.

Induction stoves. These nifty little cookers have an 84 percent efficiency rating, compared with normal stove cookers which are about 40 percent efficient. Induction stoves only heat the pot directly on top, not the surrounding surface area or air, while some automatically switch off when the pot on top is removed.

Disposable plates. There are even eco-friendly alternatives to using plastic plates when hosting parties or events. An excellent option is the DEEPAM Palmdish, made of completely bio-degradable areca nut leaf. DEEPAM also have a host of other cooking and serving utensils made from the same materials.

There is a plethora of easy, affordable eco-friendly alternatives to conventional household appliances. This list only scratches the surface (India Carbon Outlook also has some handy tips). This article by The New Ecologist outlines some other handy ways to make your kitchen sustainable. The initial costs of purchasing these items may be higher than for their conventional counterparts however, the minimal to zero running costs mean big savings on your energy bill and a significant reduction on household greenhouse gas emissions.

Auhor: Anna Rees/ RESET editorial

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