Sunday, March 18, 2007

I am not alone about dishwashers

While there appears to be hundreds of references in a Google search about dishwashers being more efficient than hand washing, all those sites seem to be merely cloned version of the same comments (usually with plenty of embedded links to buy or install dishwashers). Just like the repetitious claim that the average dishwasher uses 15 gallons of water. But I finally ran across an article in the UK Guardian which also questions the practical comparison of bad hand washers to super efficient machines.

You can read that article here:,,1605710,00.html

And then there is a nice little story and study done by Ask Pablo. He has all the numbers and details including the name and model of the dishwasher he used in a more realistic setting. You can find his story here:

I'm not out to kill the dish washing machine. I really just want people to be more efficient about their choices and how they use them. We won't always have the time to be more efficient. Nobody is going to try and tell us that driving a car is more efficient than riding a bike. We know it uses a lot of energy which translates into more pollution etc. But there are times when we can make a better choice and we need to exercise that option.


pablo said...

Hey, thanks for talking about my column in your blog and for posting your comments at!

Papa J said...

Riding a bike is more efficient? Washing dishes by hand is more efficient? Okay, the next time you leave your ideallic world and venture out into the real one, try riding your bike to get there. They are definitely LESS efficient. Please don't confuse efficiency with environmental impact. San Fransico would die in a week if all of the food stuffs were brought in on bicycle.

So that said, if you're interested in making less impact I recommend you focus your discussion more around legislation that puts alternative sources of energy into the realm of economic reality. We are a capitalist society. We vote with our money. If you want to see real environmental change, work to make wind and solar energy more attractive than gas power. Then you'll see a beautiful free market response. And it WILL BE more efficient.

greenwashed said...

papa j: First off, bicycles are several magnitudes more efficient than cars, there isn't any debate. I'm sure it has something to do with that 2 tons of steal we move around burning all that fuel. But more to the point, capitalism only loves efficiency in it's business to increase profit, not for the consumer. Capitalism needs the consumer to waste or it can't make any money.

Case in point: My house is very efficient. The more efficient it gets, the less money PG&E makes, so they need to increase the rates all the time. Probably all those people actually buying the fluorescent lights.

Next Case: I have little garbage because, as my waste collector has been promoting, I have reduced my waste, reuse what I can, and recycle. But instead of rewarding me, my garbage company has decided I need to increase my trash collection from once a month to four times a month, thus charging me more even though I produce less.

Capitalism is in big trouble because it is basically a giant pyramid scheme dependent on large inputs of cheap energy. Now with just the US and China needing half of ALL the energy we can see the problem. Next up is India whose population will soon pass that of China. And, of course, the inverse of being the big consumers, is being the big polluters. While the U.S. only has 5% of the world's population, it uses about 25% of just about every resources on the planet which means it produces 25% of the world's pollution.

Papa J said...

Okay Green washed, from a mechanical perspective there is no arguement. Bicyles win hands down. From a reality perspective. If we all switched to bicylces the entire economy would come to a screeching halt. There would be incredible human suffering as everyone in every major metropolitan area, including your beloved San Francisco, starved to death in less than a month while all of the corn in Iowa rotted in the fields because we were trying to ship it via bicyle.

What you're talking about works great on a SMALL scale. It doesn't improve when you get past one two passengers or five miles.

Hang on to your ideals though.

Heaven knows the world needs dreamers.

Now, as for capitalism, it is pyramid shaped but lets be real. Its NOT a Ponsi scheme. Yes the most people are at the bottom of the pyramid. But what is a pyramid but stable. There is no way to tip one over; however, socialism shoots for a more egalitarian system or a more narrow pyramid. Communism takes the whole system and tries to make it flat, and fails miserably because no matter how much we hate it, there is always someone who rises to the top economically. Even in communism.

So please explain, how is capitalism really going to fail?

greenwashed said...

I don’t think you’ll find me trying to pick up a new refrigerator with my bicycle. Although, having visited China I have seen some really large objects being hauled around on bikes, and they have millions of bicycles everywhere and their is growing faster than ours. So the idea that our economy would fail based on more bicycles is absurd. Remember that almost everything you buy these days is “Made in China” and that China and Japan own about one trillion dollars of our debt. On the other hand, if everyone saved their money like I did the economy WOULD fail since it relies on a perpetual motion machine of people buying more stuff than they need.

As I already pointed out our vitality relies on cheap inputs of energy. That’s just not going to last very long. We are already sitting on the tip of the problem which is one of the reasons we are stuck in Iraq right now (and it IS the oil as I know first hand while being in the Army in the late 70s when we and the Brits planned to invade Saudi Arabia if they kept up the oil embargo). We import most of our oil and we just hate the fact that all these other countries happen to be sitting on most of the oil. It ends up being a matter of national security because, as you should know by now, almost everything is dependent on the price of oil.

Our form of capitalism will have to end eventually. It’s a pyramid scheme like the type outlawed by legislation. In this case though, it’s the continuous input of oil that is at the bottom. But because there are not enough resources on the planet to even allow a country like China to consume like we do in the United States… well… you should be able to see the problem. And China seems pretty much hell bent on trying to copy our model to a “T” which stands for “Trouble.” And then, of course, there are all those other countries that also want to consume like we do.

Papa J said...

Okay, to suggest that there is a causal relationship between bycicles in China and their vibrant economy is not only laughable but naive. The real reason the Chinese economy has not leveled out is because the Chinese government has pinned its currency to the US dollar at an artificially low level. If China ever let their currency float their economy would come to a screaching halt. Okay, not screaching because that sound is reserved for a CAR slowing down too rapidly.

Yes, cheap oil does feed our economy, but as a country we have already begun to realize that and we are taking the first fitful steps to a non-oil based economy. The best thing that could happen to get us off of oil is for the price of oil to raise so high that our only viable response in industry is to turn to other souces of energy.

Right now would be a good time to invest in Solar techs, wind techs, and alternative fuel techs. I predict that within a generation (20 years) we'll be off of oil as a country.... Maybe two generations.

greenwashed said...

I didn't say that, I only pointed out that China's economy is exploding and having been there I have seen the thousands of bicycles in use everywhere (not to mention the massive air pollution everywhere from the influx of cars and continuous use of coal fired power plants). This was in response to your absurd claim that bicycles are, "...definitely LESS efficient." And that the use of them would ruin our economy. You were right actually on one point because being efficient doesn't make companies money unless they are the ones being efficient.

I explained this in some detail in my second comment. Our system is dependent on waste which is not a good model. If more people actually rode bicycles for their average trips, they'd be using less oil and the oil companies would have to keep jacking up prices for the profit line and then drop them to encourage people to drive more with ridiculously low prices. And that's because they can't be happy with a nice profit line, they need to have one larger than last year to keep stock holders happy.

As for the future we won’t be oil free in 20 years. As the cost of oil rises people will start using less which will affect the price. Unfortunately we will keep burning it along with the rest of the planet which will continue to pollute and pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Our motto has always been basically, “We are rich and we can afford to waste the world’s resources.” And we are number one at that.