“Lean” LaundryPosted: February 23, 2013 Filed under: Creative, Unusual, Amusing, Performance improvement | Tags: conservation, environment, gray water, innovation, Lean Six Sigma, lean thinking, shower, washing machine, Washit, water 1 Comment
Washit (they might want to consider using a well-placed hyphen in their product name) is a neat concept from four student designers from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. Like most cases of innovation, it starts with some basic needs and observations. First is that showers and washing machines are responsible for a big share of home water consumption (around 40 gallons for a 15-minute shower); second, is that the design of many washing machines is that people generally have to wait to build-up a relatively large batch of laundry, a tactic that often makes the machine less effective and means that your favorite t-short is waiting in a queue to get cleaned; third is that filtration systems have improved to the point where they could more economically clean gray water (water from a shower, for example).
Put these elements together and they developed an integrated shower/washing machine. Filters and a UV unit clean water used from the washing machine unit or the shower to store it for the next use. Now, laundry is done is a more “lean” just-in-time manner (small loads of up to 3 pounds) and water that previously would go down a drain for cleaning by the massive public infrastructure of a city is now cleaned at source (reducing wasted motion).
What a great story. Too bad most of these ideas only become part of the mainstream when the economic benefits are immediately felt. Growing up on a farm waste was almost a sin and it was avoided at all costs. My life now is quite different, but I try to encourage a similar mindset with my kids by re-using and re-purposing as many items as we can. I hope this helps train thier brains not to see items as single use, but as articles that could have many purposes if we just use a little imagination.