Switching from liquid dishwashing detergent to a powder
Yes, we're talking about my dishwasher. Again. Seems I just can't stop messing with that nightly routine. It irks me that I don't have the mental will to skip the pre-rinse and so I am trying to compensate by over analyzing all the other aspects involved in making my Corelleware shine.
You may recall that way back in November, I gave up my Cascade in favor of a gentler liquid detergent - Seventh Generation. Great product. Worked like a freakin' charm and without all the phosphates and fragrances. So why change again then?
Well the Liquid 7G comes in a plastic bottle, whereas the Powder 7G comes in a cardboard box. We all know that plastic is a petroleum-based product made from a non-renewable resource and that it cannot be recycled, rather, it can only be down-cycled into fleece, park benches, sleeping bags and whatnot. Cardboard, on the other hand, comes from a renewable resource and, in fact, this particular box is made from recycled fibers. Cardboard can also be recycled many times before the fibers break down too much to be useful.
So really, it's all about the packaging. Not the product.
But as long as we're on the subject of dishwashers, I thought you might like to know that I've worked very hard to minimize the amount of water I use when pre-rinsing. I've got it down to a trickle that I shut on and off while rinsing and I keep the plug in the drain so that I can just swish the silverware around at the end. Anyhow, all this obsessing has dropped my pre-rinse water usage down to a paltry 2 gallons per night. Armed with these reduced numbers, I have since developed a little formula here that proves that, for me at least, pre-rinsing my dishes actually saves energy. I know. I know. I need to let this go, but I CAN'T! Anyhow, here goes:
Pre-rinsing my dishes utilizes two gallons of cold water (I don't use the hot water for pre-rinsing) This allows me to use the short cycle on my dishwasher, which gives me a total of:
- 2 gallons cold water
- 6.1 gallons hot water
- 36 minutes of electricity
This means I've used 8.1 total gallons of water. And at 440 BTU's to heat one gallon of water, we've used 2,684 BTU's of energy (.786 kWh). I've also used .84 kWh for the motor. That totals 1.626 kWh.
If I don't pre-rinse, I skip the 2 gallons of cold rinsing water, however, I'm now forced to use the Heavy Wash setting on the dishwasher to get all the crud off the dishes. This means I'll be using:
- 0 gallons of cold water
- 8.5 gallons of hot water
- 89 minutes of electricity
Broken down, this equates to 8.5 gallons of water, 3740 BTU's (1.095 kWh) and 2.08 kWh for the motor, for a total of 3.175kWh.
So, here's the comparison:
PRE-RINSE: 8.1 gallons and 1.626 kWh vs. HEAVY CYCLE: 8.5 gallons and 3.175 kWh
Hands down winner is the pre-rinsing, saving me over 146 gallons of water and 565 kWh per year! Whew! Now FINALLY I can rinse in peace!