Xeros Ltd. is on the verge of saving us a LOT of water. Their new washing system (prototype stage) uses nylon beads to tumble wash clothes with 90% less water than conventional washers. The machine also uses significantly less detergent and eliminates the need for tumble drying. They claim that if all the homes in the US switched to their system, the carbon offset would be like taking 5 million cars off the road and it would save 1.2 billion tons of water per year – the equivalent of 17 million swimming pools. Dang!
The idea was born out of University of Leeds, where Professor Stephen Burkinshaw conceived of a dye anchoring technology that uses nylon polymer beads. By reversing this process, Professor Burkinshaw found that when these beads are tumbled with dampened clothing they absorb the dirt and stains in the process. The beads can absorb dirt over hundreds of washes, and once they’ve been used they can be easily recycled.
The Xeros website claims that household savings could be 30% over traditional washing costs, all things considered. According to CNET, Xeros recently partnered with GreenEarth Cleaning and the machines will begin commercial production by the end of 2010. Hopefully with funding and interest a retail option will be coming our way soon!