We read so much about environmental concerns nowadays that you would be forgiven for thinking that everyone is knitting woodchip jumpers and burning lettuce. I am not going to debate the practicalities or theories regarding global warming, they make as much sense to me as a 17 year old girl. It strikes me though that this is simply a means of taxation by guilt, why else would everything be done in such small steps? They tell us that packaging is bad for the lions because the polar bears get too warm or some such guff. So we have to reduce our packaging, fair play lets look at an example. When I was a child laundry used powdered detergent, there was no alternative and a breakfast cereal sized box would be enough to do a families washing for a fortnight. In this grand modern day we have liquid detergent or, more accurately, pre diluted. Now I can see that adding water to the powder and then retailing the result means more packaging and transport costs. Whereas before we trusted the machine to add water to the powder we now buy in the water ready mixed in the powder. Apparently a zebra got a bit queasy and we declared that packing had to be reduced so we took some water out and now we have smaller bottles. Now I am sure that the zebra feels better but as a consumer I am now paying the same for less so I feel queasy. They explain that the ‘washing power’, whatever that is, hasn’t changed and that the cost remains the same to cover the cost of reducing the water, that’s right were paying to take something away!
If we can save the lesser spotted ork seal by using less packaging lets not mess about, lets take all of the water out. After all I add a truckload of water to my laundry, that’s how it works. Lets take all of the water out and sell us powder, kind of like you used to. Lets go further, using the latest technology that can make a smart car so small as to be pointless and your laptop so small that you cannot see it, lets shrink the powder. We can all use laundry tablets the size of an aspirin, think of the packaging we will save and all the happy snow leopards. Obviously the health and safety loons will be concerned that laundry tablets look like aspirin so we will have to make the glow in the dark and triangular. Of course I would prefer to leave them as they come just for the joy of hung-over people leaning on bars, foaming at the mouth and smelling of Lenor.
There are many examples of such over packaging being supported by industry, they have been around forever. I purchased a great example on Friday, good old French Fancies*, a packet of eight no less. Who is it that thinks individually wrapping them is necessary? a simple flap arrangement that allows for a gannet type approach of ‘open and tip’ would be much more practical and save a giraffe or two. Individually wrapping these things is like labelling condoms ‘extra large’, it simply makes us look better at the checkout but has no relevance once we get home.
In unrelated news I have cleaned my washing machine this morning and promptly added the task to the list of jobs that life is too short for. The machine has been playing up and not using enough of the chemicals that I add to my laundry. I have no real concerns about the softness or scent in my laundry but I do worry that if I don’t use enough chemicals then we are in real danger of the beardy weirdies encouraging over population of monkeys. If its a choice between smelling of Lilac and Jasmine or fighting off psychotic invading monkeys riding whales then I’m all for soft socks. Anyway I concluded that the use of bleach was the way forward, essentially you have a scrub around and then chuck some bleach in the wash and job done. Firstly I can reveal that having wrists that bear no resemblance to normality makes cleaning the soap drawer a challenge. Where my wrists don’t rotate I have to rotate my body instead, I apologise to anyone that happened to see through my window this morning and thought I was having sex with the washing machine.
Having cleaned the input side I simply needed to add a ‘couple of cups’ of bleach to a hot wash. In deference to both the hemp cardigan brigade and my water bill I concluded that a half wash would suffice, after all its only about getting it all wet right? Now I don’t know if my US cousins have a different understanding of cup to me but I figured a rough translation was 4 good squirts. All was good for twenty minutes and then I checked the machine to find it full of suds, I wonder if it should have been 3 squirts. Just to clarify I am using the beer scale of full, that is to say that full means coming out of the top such that no more can reasonably be added. Having considered my options I decided to remove the soap drawer and hold a cloth over the fill pipe thus preventing the scalding bleach foam from rising. I like to think that the benefit to my technique was that by keeping the foam under pressure I got a more thorough clean, but in honesty I lasted fifteen minutes of holding what was effectively the domestic equivalent of a red hot hand grenade and gave up. Having spent another hour rinsing out I would not recommend this technique.
*For those that are not familiar with the name these are small, heavily iced cake bites