Addressing global water issues through laundry services
Why are we making such a big deal about laundry?
Of more than 7 billion people on Earth, only about 2 billion have access to washing machines (Source: Prof. Hans Rosling, TED Talk).
The remaining approximately 5 billion people generally hand-wash their clothes in local water-bodies, causing or adding to water-pollution in areas already facing water-stress; this also robs people of impoverished communities, especially women, of precious time which can be used for more productive/progressive pursuits like education and/or wealth-creation activities.
An estimated 842,000 people, mostly children, die every year from water-related diseases from drinking, swimming in, or washing clothes in polluted water (water.org).
In developed countries, although washing machines have resulted in more time being available for productive/progressive pursuits, such systems are unsustainable in terms of water and energy consumption and the pollution they cause.
In the US, a per capita daily water use of up to 100 gallons is estimated, far more than other countries. The great majority is for outdoor watering; washing clothes represents 22% of indoor use. (http://water.usgs.gov/).
These issues are part of a larger context of sustainability related to water, energy, land, food, and human health, and are interconnected in ways that comprise a global nexus; to address any of these components effectively, they all must be considered.
However, solutions need to happen at local levels.
Our sustainable community laundry centers will offer communities a superior laundry facility utilizing our "Rainwash System": a synergy of solar power, extremely water- and energy-efficient machines, rainwater harvesting, and greywater recycling to not only reduce negative environmental impacts but to create regenerative ones, including using greywater to grow community food gardens.
Our first location will open in Taos, New Mexico, with other US locations planned for the future. 10% of our profits will provide financial support to partner with established NGOs in creating laundry centers in developing communities around the world. These will be modified to fit the particular needs and resources of each individual community.
In this way, the global crisis around water, food, and energy will be addressed in ways that are specifically local but collectively have a global impact.