~RedBird~ asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 1 decade ago

Which is greener, using paper plates, or washing dishes 3 times daily?

I have a family of four, and we have 3 meals daily at home. My husband and I are debating which method is "greener". I believe that it's better for the environment AND cheaper to just use real dishes and wash them after using. My husband thinks that the power needed to heat water for dishwashing is equally as bad for the environment as using paper plates. Which is greener? Using paper plates 3x daily, or washing dishes in hot water 3x daily? Which is more economical?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I think using real plates and washing them...just don't be wasteful when you're washing, like leaving the water on the whole time. I mean, the power it takes to actually make the plates and ship them to the stores, not to mention the trees that were cut down, seems like it would make a bigger environmental impact than washing dishes in hot water.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Paper Plates Or Washing Dishes

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    it entirely depends on where you live. In places where the is a water shortage, then paper is the better option. If water is more prevalent, then washing is the way to go.

    Typically the plates will be worse because with the food on them they cannot be recycled. But water conservation can be really important in some areas - so check that out. Also you may want to check out how "green" your city is, in the terms of how well they recycle and the situation of it's landfills. (you should be able to contact your city/town government for this information)

    When you wash, try to use "green" soap and use luke warm to cold water. If you're washing them immediately it's not really necessary to use hot. If you wait to do all the dishes for the day until night - then I would use hotter water to ensure sanitation. (also if you have anything really dirty, like something that had raw chicken on it - go ahead and use the really hot water). Whenever you can, don't have the water running. You can do this by filling up the sink part way with soapy water, washing the dishes and storing them in a drying rack, and then when you're all done, gently rinsing all the dished at one time, instead of rinsing each dish separately.

    Also, I'm not sure of your monetary situation, but if you can afford it get an energy saver dishwasher. Those can be run every two days, which saves on water, heat and your hands :-)

    Source(s):
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I would say paper plates is worse for the economy. The total amount of plates adds up to 12 a day, which is a lot of plates to be throwing away. Instead of washing dishes 3 times a day, why don't you wait until the end of the day and wash them all together?

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  • 1 decade ago

    I think it doesn't matter.I would use paper plates. Because they're convenient. But they could be expensive from time to time. Regular plates could also be a hassle because you would have to pay for the running water and actually wash it your self. To make life easier, make a decision.If you choose regular plates, buy or if you already have one, use a dishwasher. That's what my mom does.And at the same time, we use paper plates sometimes when we don't feel like cleaning. So have fun deciding!! Good luck with everything else.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Washing dishes. Running lots of water does not hurt the Earth.

    Ask your husband where we are going to put all of these paper plates. I think he is just using this argument because he hates washing dishes. ;) Washing dishes by hand with hot wather does not hurt the Earth that much. It is much, much more wasteful to throw bags of paper plates into landfills every week. Not to mention, you cannot do half as many things with a paper plate as you can with a ceramic bowl, such as hold jello or soup. ;)

    In addition to that, the hot water problem can easily be fixed by switching to solar power or wind power to eat our water. This is actually what we used to do before we had electricity. We used to heat a huge pot of it over a fire in the fireplace and then fill a washtub pot by pot. ;)

  • 1 decade ago

    You have two queries - 1. Which is green?

    2. Which is economical?

    Analyse one by one. Using real dishes - Usage of hot water reduce the quantity of water required to clean and is hygenic. Water temp need to be around 55 -60 deg C to ease out the grease due to fat/cheese/oil etc. On an average, it is considered, you require about 4 liters of hot water and an equal quantity of cold water for washing your dish (4 nos.) after every meal. Avg electrical energy required to heat 100 ltr of water from 18 deg to 60 deg C is between 5 to 6 kWh. Now you know how much is your approximate energy cost.

    Reg. paper plates - most paper plates have a thin polymer lining to avoid wetting. Recycling is possible but again energy consuming. As you are aware, paper is made mainly from cellulose which mean cutting of bamboos and pines. How long we can afford to cut since we plant a few.

    Your Judgement Now!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I would say washing plates. You can use paper plates because they decompose quickly but then they can only be used once so that is a lot of paper plates after while and a lot a trash. Not to mention paper comes from trees.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well it would depend on if u was washing by hand or dishwasher because a dishwasher uses less water. But it would have to be washing 3 times daily unless you eat sandwiches or something you don'tt have to use pots and pans for because you will still need to wash the pots and pans so mayas well wash the plates at the same time!

  • 1 decade ago

    Use a good, energy-efficient dishwasher. Scrape, but don't pre-wash. Run only full loads (so you may need more dishes!) at off-peak hours, if possible. Set washer to air-dry, or the least-heat setting. The paper-making process uses LOTS of water, so right away you're greener; then consider the energy needed to manufacture the paper, and the expense of disposal in a landfill--my vote has to go to the dishwasher.

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