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  • Writer's pictureKemiALondoner

The Washing machine question

Everytime I do a talk this comes up.

I bring it up.

How many washing machines does one road really need? How often does this get used? And does it validate everyone on the street having one?


There's a lot of talk these days about the sharing economy, mainly focussing either on food waste from big corporations or other big business making money from the idea of sharing (air bnb, uber etc), but what about the neighbourhood?

Laundrettes were great places where people would sit together, have a chat read a newspaper. That warm linen smell that enveloped you whilst waiting for your spin or tumble was comforting and clean, if not also dry and starchy. But like community centres they're in decline because people are becoming more insular and ownership of THINGS is of more and more importance.

But what if.. We shared our washing machines... Maybe we'd have to talk to each other the once or twice a week it actually gets used. Think of the space we'd save in our kitchens/laundry rooms/ utility rooms (if you're super fancy). And when it broke we'd fix it as a collective - I imagine someone would be a plumber, so maybe we'd pay that local person to fix it, saving us all so much money and keeping the money in the local economy. And think how much smaller our collective environmental foot print would be on the world. And think how everyone would be a £150-£300 better off.


Well, this is just my pipe dream of the day.


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