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Consumer Reports Does It in Green

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A Very Green Kitchen

In my house growing up, no appliance or electronic gadget was bought until Consumer Reports was referenced (our local library had all the back issues and it was my job to find the right one). It seems like many of my friends’ families also had this allegiance to Consumer Reports, so I’m guessing all you Gen X and Yer’s might have had the same experience.

Now that I’m all grown up, with a new dishwasher to buy I figured I should consult the erstwhile publication. (I know, I should just wash dishes by hand. But I HATE dishes with such a passion I can’t even explain it rationally. I’d rather scoop cat litter, take out the garbage or dump smelly compost than do dishes.)

But first, I did an internet search on ‘green dishwashers’, figuring someone may have written an article comparing them, but I wasn’t expecting much. Imagine my pleasant surprise upon finding out that Consumer Reports has applied their awesome testing and ranking system to include the environmentally impactful aspects of all sorts of products– including dishwashers.

Called Greener Choices, this branch of Consumer Reports ranked dishwashers using a system comparing which had the lowest environmental mpact. They looked at how much water each used, how much electricity they sucked, and how effective they were at cleaning dishes, along with price and model info. I was able to find a modestly-priced dishwasher with a very high green score.

They have sections on computers, washing machines and dryers, refrigerators, AC’s, electronics, lawn and garden stuff, and more. For each item they also have information on how to recycle or dispose of it properly, and a guide so that you don’t buy a bigger unit than you need. What a resource! And best of all, it was mentioned that an efficient dishwasher can actually use less water than handwashing dishes, a fact that I will remember approximately forever.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.