Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The eco-washing machine that cleans clothes with NUTS

It is designed to work with soapnuts, natural seeds which have been used in Asia to clean clothes for hundreds of years.

The makers say the nuts are much healthier for the planet than chemical powders, liquids or tablets, once washed away down our pipes.

And soapnuts can be cultivated anywhere, cutting down on the pollution and costs associated with transport.

The machine was chosen from a field of dozens by the appliance company Electrolux for its annual green design awards.

The company says an E-wash could be on the market within a few years. Henrik Otton, head of global design for Electrolux, said: "E-wash is a brilliant connection between ancient knowledge and hi-tech.

"It takes an open-minded person to seek out solutions from one culture and apply them to another."

The machine was invented by Levente Szabo; from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Hungary.

He came up with the idea while trying to find a way to cut down on the packaging, production and transport costs of ordinary washing powder.

"My inspiration was the polluting effect of both the washing process and the production of the detergent," he said.

"I was looking for a substance that could replace detergent. The soapnut is a natural plant and can be cultivated.

"It does not harm nature but is a part of it."

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