Compromising on being Green and buying a dishwasher

I’ve never had a dishwasher anywhere I’ve lived. Despite living in lots of shared houses and flats, and despite having my own place for quite a few years, I’ve always assumed they were bad for the environment and unnecessary.

Ultimately, I guess they are. They’re massive hunks of plastic and metal which take lots of energy to be made, and lots of energy to be recycled when they’re done, and they’re made halfway across the world and shipped via massive oil guzzling ships and trains and trucks. They need electricity to run, when I could just do the dishes myself with my own energy. At least the water use is damn good now – six litres for an ‘eco’ wash is pretty impressive, when my own sink takes more than that and would need to be refreshed at least twice if not three times to do all the dishes that fit in a dishwasher.

However, even with that in mind, and even with the fact I hate buying new things and I hate creating waste… today I did buy a new dishwasher. There’s a bunch of reasons. My partner is not great at doing the washing up without reminding, and I absolutely hate having to do that. I also hate having to do loads of washing up, and I feel like I’m never defeating the massive pile on the side. But perhaps what’s really tipped me over the edge on buying a dishwasher, is that I’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both my hands. So washing-up is quite pleasant really, because the hot water does ease the pain. But at the same time, I’m very aware that there isn’t any getting better with this condition. The bones will slowly degrade and the pain will get worse. And frankly, if I have limited usage out of these mitts, I don’t want to waste it on washing up!

So I did my research, read a lot of reviews, went around a lot of websites, and bought a new dishwasher. After all the hours, days, of faff when we bought second hand fridge-freezers, I just don’t have the mental fortitude to go through that again. Particularly as my partner will have to alter the kitchen worktops and plumbing to fit the dishwasher, as this is the first time our house has ever had one. I didn’t intend it this way, but it also turns out that this weekend is a rather good one for buying consumer goods – what with ‘black Friday’ being two days past – so I did get a discount and I could buy it from John Lewis and get an extra year’s guarantee. Frugal, if not green.

It feels a bit of a defeat to spend £325 for a machine that basically does what I feel like I should be doing myself. But frankly, I think it will be good not only for my body, but for my brain – I really get down when the house is dirty and messy, and piles of washing-up on the side do not help. So here’s to treating myself I guess! Let’s just hope I can make the thing last many, many years. I guess sometimes you have to compromise on your Green hopes, to make life livable.


Compromising on being Green and buying a dishwasher

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five

The problem with November is that it’s the month where you have to pay for all the things you are planning to do in December for Christmas (book tickets to events, dinners, trains, transport etc etc). And joy-o-joy, my car has just refused to start and will likely need towing to the garage this week. And the cat got attacked by another cat and needed £90 of vet treatment last week. Ahhh…. the winter.

At times like this, I am deeply grateful that we are frugal, and save, and that I know we can afford these surprise costs without anything bad happening. And it makes me want to celebrate the few frugal things I have managed this week…

  • The NHS got me covered, with a free consultant appointment just ten days after being referred. Couldn’t imagine life without the NHS.
  • Treated to a free dinner in the city. Had to pay transport to get there…but made people happy and the wine was very, very nice!
  • Treated to lunch and the cinema in the city by my mom, which was absolutely lovely. Bumped into some old friends (recognised their voices when we say down next to them in the cinema!) and went back to theirs for tea and a catch up, all free and wonderfully serendipitous.
  • The car may have broken down, but we just did a big food shop, and there’s plenty in the cupboard, fridge and freezer that will keep us going quite a while without feeling too desperate to buy the more expensive local groceries.
  • Fanfiction. It’s endlessly inventive, fascinating, and easy to read. When I just want to unwind for an hour in the evening, it’s free and easy and I just don’t have to think too hard. Honestly, totally great right now.

As always, inspired by Katy’s posts on the Non-Consumer Advocate.

Friday’s Green and Frugal Five