This was sent to us last January. We have neglected to post it until now.
In looking to make positive change in ending the excessive use of dryers, I would like to share with you my story:
Seven years ago my family and I moved from NY/CT to Paris. For the first year we lived on La Place de Breteuil. This is one of the most prestigious addresses and neighbourhoods in Paris. When watching this video (link directly below) notice the only relatively modern building on the place/roundabout. This was our home -- AND there was NO DRYER. We rented this apartment from a very good friend of ours as it was his Paris apartment as there is no 'renting allowed' in this building, goodness no. On the market this apartment, with floor to ceiling views of the Eiffel Tower would go for 1.8 - 2M Euros. FYI: NO ONE hung their clothes out to dry in this neighbourhood -- yet I bet less than 10% of the homes has dryers. Gosh... what did we do -- see below.
Our second apartment in Paris was 68 Blvd de Courcelles, across from Parc Monceau. We lived there for 3 1/2 years. It did not come with a dryer, but I bought a ventless dryer (which is why most people in Paris do not have dryers -- no way to break through the walls for a vent). BUT, I only dried the towels. Very very few people within our building or elsewhere had dryers -- and NO ONE hung their clothes out to dry. These 'condos' are going for 1.5 - 4M euros in our building.
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boulevard_de_Courcelles scroll down the page a bit to see the buildings on my old street
Now, I live in Bristol, UK. We have a 7+ bedroom home on Downleaze.
The home was on the market for 1.7M GBP which is about 2.7M$. We are renting it from the owners for one year until we move back to the US and for them they needed to wait until the housing market turned around. NO DRYERS. OK, we have a very large garden (backyard) and there is a permanent clothes dryer contraption out there, and yes my neighbours do hang their clothes to dry -- and they are all well to do. BUT, we live in England and the amount of sunny days is limited. So, we DO NOT DRY OUR CLOTHES OUTSIDE.
Gosh, what do we do?
Most of our homes were built pre-plumbing and some pre-electric so the laundry was done in the kitchen (where they would dry in a rack that is pulled down from the ceiling and then the hot air from the oven would dry the clothes) or they have their hanging racks where the now furnace is. And that is what the entire country (France and England) do.
I really really think if you shift your focus from hanging wash outside, to inside you might get more conversions. Here is why. Taking the laundry outside is a pain. It is inconvenient and you need to be home in case it rains. Granted the weather here in the UK is much more unpredictable that in most parts of the US, but there is a great agitation when I hang things outside as at any moment I would need to run out if it starts raining. However, if I just hang the wet clothes in the multiple rack system I have in the basement next to the furnace/water heater (which conveniently is next to the washing machine) it is safe, it dries overnight and no worries about rushing outside.
Also, wondering why your hanging racks are so expensive. In the UK they range around 20-30 GBP http://direct.asda.com/Laundry-+-Ironing/2172,default,sc.html although that is about $50 it is not a big deal for a one time investment for a family. The $100+ racks on your website are way too big of a deterrent even for me and I am one of the converted.
Why not sell one of these: http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/s_10151_10104_For the Home_Laundry & Garment Care_Drying Racks along with your higher priced ones. If the goal is really climate change, make it easy for others. Make it compelling.
Most higher-end dryers these days have settings such as silk, wool, etc. We have been fortunate to have high-end Miele washing machines in most places we lived or the equivalent. I barely take anything to the dry cleaners anymore -- and have not for the past 7 years. It is expensive and toxic. And there is NO WAY you can put any fine washables in the dryer.
OK, if I was not moving back to the US this summer I would have purchased a dryer as what I wouldn't give for a fluffy towel. But for 90% of my washing I would not use the dryer. This is what I did in one apartment in Paris. I had a dryer and only did the towels. Then rest of my laundry (husband and three kids worth) were hung on a variety of racks and then ironed. Ah, and that is the key. Without drying ironing is a must. Even the children's sleepwear is ironed. In Europe we have these super great steam irons - which are not that expensive. In Europe it seemed as though their white goods got better and not bigger. No space, so the manufacturers such as Miele made more efficient, better appliances.
Here is what a steam iron looks like in France
OK, I had an ironer in France. That is what is done there (in Paris). A win:win for everyone -- job for someone once a week for 3 hours at 7 Euros an hour but in the UK it is not done as much so I have a cleaning woman who helps and then I do the rest -- for 21 Euros I have immaculate, perfectly ironed clothes, sheets, etc. that hold up better over time with brighter colors. Beds look much better. Clothes look much better.
So, perhaps going the traditional American marketing route if you really want to convince people there is a benefit for not using a dryer:
- They look better (clothes look better)
- Their homes look better (bedroom linens much crisper, dining room linens more posh, etc.)
- Better for you as the chemicals in dry cleaning will give you cancer (here is the toxicology report on perc -- http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp18.html ) Americans like being scared, Scare the hell out of them with this one. It is scary and should be.
Once they start doing their fine washables, which without question you cannot place in a dryer, not drying the other clothes will not be that big of a leap.
- It costs less, goodness that is a plus these days (but not the main motivator)
And, oh yeah -- much much better for the environment, isn't that a huge plus (again, a motivator for you and me but not the masses yet, alas)
Hope this helps. Feel free to share. And good luck.
All the best,