A4: Air Drying and Appliances

For the make-a-(green) plan challenge, I refuse to use my hair dryer. I have owned this little hair dryer for a couple decades I think, though I have let my hair air dry for years. So, putting this old thing out in the shed is really only symbolic. I am not going to throw it away. For one thing, I think I will be using it soon on an ugly decal on my truck. I was told a hair dryer was a good method to remove decals. This reminds me somewhat of the No Impact Man’s similar plan wherein he and his wife removed things from their home for the challenge, with no permanent decision about what they would reuse when the year was up. (Note: they brought their washing machine back.)

I am also air drying my clothes on my new clothesline out back. In a pinch I use a folding rack I found two years ago by the dumpster. I use it for drying during rainy weather. I may have to use it this week. I would normally use the dryers at the laundry room a few doors away. Besides saving the energy in a general way, I will be saving money. Who doesn’t love the smell of line dried bedding and towels? I listed gift ideas in November and included the Wonder Washer. This is one little manual appliance I’d like to get in the mail. Feel free to write me an email and I will give you my shipping address.

Another major appliance I won’t be using this year is a dishwasher. I will be washing dishes by hand and letting them air dry. But, I don’t own a dishwasher, so that isn’t a stretch. In fact, I haven’t had a dishwasher in my home for most of my life.

Other small appliances which have gone the way of the shed: waffle iron, iron, toaster, hand mixer, curling iron and a popcorn popper. All but the first of these were given to me or I found for free or at a thrift store. If you are counting, there are now half a dozen small appliances I won’t be living with this year.

This leaves the following appliances in my home, and I may re-think my use of these as well.
  1. Microwave – I believe this is non-negotiable as I use it frequently and I’d argue for its effectiveness.
  2. Induction Cook Plate – I love, love, love this technology that cooks with magnetic waves. This is my primary cooking method and I’ve found that it cooks faster than any other method I’ve used before.
  3. Toaster Oven – This isn’t used much when I eat healthy. When I am eating crap I use it a lot. Note: The aforementioned Gift List also lists the details for a Solar Oven. Hint.
  4. Coffee Maker – I found my coffee maker at the Community Thrift for $2. I brew and put in a carafe to be conscientious. So, this is no real biggie.
  5. Food Processor – As I mentioned yesterday with my Arugula Pesto recipe, I make hummus most weeks. I am not ready to mash, chop and blend by hand. It could happen.
  6. Space Heater – From December to March I use this about an hour or two a day to keep my daytime air temperature 62 degrees and nighttime 50 degrees.
  7. Fan – I usually have a fan going non-stop all summer. Sometimes I am not sure if it is the air movement or the white noise I am addicted to here.

Now these are all small appliances, but even my more major appliances are pretty small. None of these that follow are sacred, but I am not ready to consider removing them this month. I have a restaurant version of an undercounter refrigerator without a freezer. I have a countertop ice machine, television set, CPU, monitor and a laser printer. These last ones are equipment rather than appliances, right? What differentiates these two words, appliance versus equipment?

A device or instrument designed to perform a specific function, especially an electrical device, such as a toaster, for household use. See Synonyms at tool.

It isn’t clear what differentiates these words appliance versus equipment, but by inference anything that is for household use is not considered very ‘serious’ when one starts exploring the world of electrical engineering. This is true of countless areas besides electrical, but that too is another post.

Now it occurs to me that this all sounds like a real Riot for Austerity. It is and I make no apologies. Many middle and upper class bloggers have written about taking it slow and that it isn’t necessary for austerity to be the way forward. That might be so for many, but the majority of Americans may not have a real choice. I emphatically believe we are headed towards a whole series of crises and my desire is to go forward on that premise. I won’t cite the articles in this post for the economic meltdown, peak oil to biofuel corporatist push and the food / water shortages I have been reading about this year. These are for another day. My mission is to take this very seriously and consider all options for reuse, recycle, reduce or eliminate.

On the other hand, the Buddhist teaching of the idea of a Middle Way is close to my heart. After all, perfectionism may be as destructive force as indifference. My make-a-(green) plan will not solve these international and national or even my state or local calamities even if I aced everything. If I were a perfect austerity nut I still would not make a huge dent in the global dilemmas. That’s okay. I will still feel more empowered than waiting for the politicians to do anything to save the things that really count. Oh, and the other thing is this, what will it hurt to give it my best? It took me years and years to get the this place of understanding.

Photo from Flickr