Lockdown loads of laundry increase by a third putting strain on parents and the environment

Did you notice an increase in food bills during lockdown? Ebac​, the British manufacturer of environmentally friendly and sustainable washing machines and dehumidifiers, has found that washing has increased too over the last five months, and with some schools asking for parents to wash school uniform more often this might increase even more with impacts for parents’ time, household bills and the environment.

The research found that parents have increased the volume of laundry they carry out by over a third (36 per cent), with the average family home doing an average of 6.4 washes per week during lockdown and a third of parents doing smaller daily loads every day to help prevent the virus. 1 in 4 of those surveyed have been asked to wash clothes by their children’s schools at the end of each day. According to the Energy Saving Trust, 20131, the average household does 244 washes per year, this research suggests it has increased to 333 washes2.

The environment impact of additional washes

The Energy Saving Trust, 2013, states that the average wash uses 50 litres of water which equates to 235 litres per week during normal use1. During the pandemic this has risen to 320 litres per week – over 1,000 litres during lockdown and enough water to fill approximately 8,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools when aggregated across the whole country3.

A study conducted by Plymouth University found that a single wash releases approximately 700,000 microfibres of plastic per wash. During 12 weeks of lockdown, the increased number of washes has led to an additional 14.3 million microfibres of plastic going into the ocean per household4.

Changing habits resulting in changing consumer demands

The survey found that during the pandemic parents are eager for their washing machines to be quieter and quicker to help with the logistics of washing. 83 per cent of parents desire shorter washing cycles and 76 per cent of parents would like a quieter machine. More people are now working at home and kids are having online classes so people want quieter washing machines and some resort to the drop off laundry service for convenience. Parents are also conscious of the environmental impact of the increased washing needs:

  • 80 per cent of parents now look for a new washing machine with environmental credentials.
  • Parents prioritise a reduction in the use of electricity and water, along with a reduction in the release of microfibres and microplastics into the sea.
  • 63 per cent wish to reduce their carbon footprint by buying a British manufactured brand.
  • 80 per cent wish to reduce the impact on landfill by having replacement parts available for the long term.
  • 75 per cent want a washing machine that does not overwash and damage clothes

John Elliott, Ebac’s founder and chief executive said: “The pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways and that includes routine chores such as the laundry. Parents are facing an increased requirement to do frequent loads of washing to help combat the spread of the virus. This brings with it challenges in terms of time and drying space and avoiding noise for those working from home and with small children.

“Parents are conscious of the environmental impact of their daily habits. However, while some believe the pandemic has given us the opportunity for a green recovery, our habits have changed to go against this tide. At Ebac, we build our washing machines and dehumidifiers for people and for the environment.

“Today, washing machines receive awards based on their ability to wash severe stains without pre-treatment, the majority of washes do not need this. This has led to machines that overwash, causing not only damage to garments but unnecessary use of water, electricity and an increase in microplastics and microfibres being released into the oceans. With an increased requirement to keep our clothes clean and virus free, the time is now to question the environmental impact and commitment to sustainability of your manufacturers. 

“As the only British manufacturer of washing machines, we take pride in delivering a reduced carbon footprint. We are also committed to providing products that are built to last. The public has spoken and we have listened and delivered 100,000 hours of research, development and testing.” 

Ebac designs and manufactures dehumidifiers, washing machines and water coolers, delivering the best products to Britain and Ebac customers. Every product is made in the UK to deliver on its mission of providing quality products that are reliable and sustainable. Its washing machines are engineered to deliver what consumers want and need – reliable, washes well, quiet, short wash cycles and built to last. The research has confirmed that Ebac’s focus is on the right things for the future.

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