Dirty Laundry in Manila: Comparing Resource Consumption Practices for Individual and Shared Laundering

13 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2018

See all articles by Monique Retamal

Monique Retamal

Australian National University (ANU) - The Fenner School of Environment and Society

Heinz Schandl

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

Changing lifestyles in developing and emerging economies entail a shift in technology use, everyday practices, and resource consumption. It is important to understand the sustainability consequences of these changes and the potential for policy to guide practices toward more sustainable lifestyles. In this study, we investigate laundry practices in the City of Manila, the Philippines, and compare the resources consumed in three different modes of laundering. We examine (1) traditional washing by hand, (2) washing by machine at home, and (3) using a laundry service. In addition to comparing the consumption of water, energy, and detergents, we also examine the social aspects of laundering using the lens of social practice theory. We use empirical data gathered in interviews with laundry service operators and people laundering at home to undertake qualitative and quantitative analyses of laundry practices and resource consumption. We find that hand washing uses the least water and energy, but large quantities of detergents. Machine washing and laundry services are comparable for water consumption, but energy use is much higher for services as they use dryers. Social changes, such as an increase in work available for women and the nature of future housing, are likely to influence the dominance of either shared or individual laundering methods. These findings illustrate the social complexity of transitions to product‐service systems and the interdependencies between their social and environmental impacts.

Keywords: developing countries, households, industrial ecology, product‐service system (PSS), social practices, sustainable consumption

Suggested Citation

Retamal, Monique and Schandl, Heinz, Dirty Laundry in Manila: Comparing Resource Consumption Practices for Individual and Shared Laundering (December 2018). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 22, Issue 6, pp. 1389-1401, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3269449 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12696

Monique Retamal (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - The Fenner School of Environment and Society ( email )

Bldg 48 Linnaeus Way
The Australian National University
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Heinz Schandl

Government of the Commonwealth of Australia - CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

41 Boggo Rd
Dutton Park, Queensland
Australia

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