AT on... What Happens When it's in Your Own Backyard

AT on... What Happens When it's in Your Own Backyard

Jonathan B.
Aug 15, 2008

So: the short version of the story is that we've become very interested in biodegradable laundry detergent. After reading Vicki C's comment on an earlier Re-nest post, we were all set to hack our washing machine, then stock up on Ecos during our next trip to Costco...

...but it turns out Ecos is longer available there. It's been replaced with a house brand, and the reviews are not as positive.

So the reason for our sudden interest in laundry detergent? As you can see, in the great California tradition, our washing machine is outside in a lean-to against the house. We realized that it would be ridiculously easy to reroute the drain hose to irrigate our yard with greywater. And then, an interesting thing happened.

Suddenly, our deep loyalty to Tide detergent came into question. Upon reflection, perhaps Tide is our own green "kryptonite." We like our clothes to be clean, clean, clean, and nothing else we've tried does as good of a job. But when you're dumping out the drain water on your own lawn—the one you have dreams of turning into an edible garden—it's a bit harder to ignore the lackluster environmental performance and mysterious, undisclosed ingredients of a product like Tide.

So, stay tuned. We'll be blogging the conversion of our washing machine into an irrigation device, and we'll let you know what we find out about laundry detergent, greywater, and gardening.

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