When we bought our house I noticed that a Energy Star qualified dishwasher was installed in the kitchen, and I was like, "This is awesome! How green are we?" Here's the thing, though, our dishwasher could not possibly suck more. You put a mildly dirty dish in there and it comes out maybe 10 percent cleaner than it went in. To be honest, most of the time it comes back in the very same state of dirtiness, but with the added bonus a film of detergent. Nice. I often use our dishwasher as a storage for dirty dishes when the pile in the sink gets overwhelming. I run it, to see if maybe this time the magic will happen, and inevitably the load comes out even dirtier than it went in. This is because our Energy Star dishwasher takes, say, a piece of parsley that has been inconceivably left on a plate, crushes it into thousands of tiny pieces, and redistributes them all over everything else. Then I take everything out and hand wash it. Washing everything TWO times. AWESOME for the environment.
Maybe there's something we should be doing, I don't know. We're new homeowners and I will not be surprised at all if one day our dining room wall crumbles to the ground and we're like, "Oh, were we supposed to be emptying that weird canister thing in the basement?"
Whatever, I've gone a little off topic. The point is that I just learned something that's pretty interesting, and involves a sacrifice I think I can make. Soft, two-ply toilet paper? It's so bad for the environment! Read the story on findingDulcinea and then, that's right, buy some eco-friendly, possibly - I admit it - scratchier, toilet paper.
There's a good list of the worst offenders - and best alternatives - by Greenpeace linked from the story. I know most people don't want to sacrifice comfort, but try it, see how good you feel about yourself. Meanwhile, I promise to stop expecting miracles from my obviously defunct dishwasher. Hand washing and one-ply from now on. Because I love this planet.