Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Brilliant results, even on eco programs*

Bleary eyed, as usual, I staggered down to the kitchen to make myself my morning cup of coffee. While waiting for the coffee machine to do its thing, something tugged at my vision. It was the box of dishwasher soap tablets that I'd left out and on it was the catchy marketing slogan:

Brilliant results, even on eco programs

It's been bugging me for a while now. "Even on eco programs"? Does this imply that the manufacturers have done some research and discovered that actually, making obeisance at the altar of Gaia means that you may have to wash your plates twice? Are detergents becoming stronger to counteract the effects of people using colder water to "save the planet"? Does this mean even more (but different) pollution to worry about later on?

This is what aggravates me about the warmists. They're banging on about how we have to be more energy efficient, while ignoring the fact that their approach may not be the most pollution efficient and it's almost certainly not the most cost efficient.

Ignoring the fact that I think (especially this morning!) that an ice age is much more likely than a boiled planet (in the short term, anyway - in a couple of billion years, a boiled planet is inevitable) I am actually a firm believer in efficiency.

Any believer in the free market and especially anarchist-inclined libertarians is a believer in efficiency. I believe that the free market is far and away the most efficient way of delivering goods and services - but a free market, not a regulated market. And as an milquetoast anarchist, I also believe that there are a handful of services that can be more efficiently provided by the government than by the market. So I'm willing to compromise my loathing of giving money to a bunch of legalised thieves in exchange for those services. Although I accept that there are anarchist alternatives, I'm not sure that they are necessarily the most efficient alternative.

So, efficiency is key. And energy efficiency is just another kind of efficiency. So while I'm all for us being efficient, I want to be just as efficient as a can be, while still getting properly clean clothes and hygienic dishes out of the dishwasher. I don't think it helps anyone if I have to wash my dishes twice or three times because it just doesn't work as well on a colder temperature.

I certainly don't agree with sponsoring Big Eco companies with billions of dollars in the name of something that smells very suspect indeed. "Eco-energy" either the most efficient way of delivering energy, or they need to go back to the drawing board. Artificially inflating the price of traditional energy sources to make Eco-energy look efficient is nothing other than theft.

Homo sapiens has made a remarkable amount of progress in its short time on the planet. I can't see why we need to undo that and place ourselves under an even greater yoke than the one we already labour under.

*Bit of a rambling post, this one.


Tomrat said...

*dons Chemistry hat for a minute*

This is, Obo, one of the few areas where you are not correct in your assumption; my last job was working with a distributor of said "specialty" products that make up a variety of products including said cleaning products and weirdly they are a prime example of market forces in action.

Older laundry and dishwasher powders, as well as the technology utilising them, used to use much harsher chemicals and tons more energy; nowadays the move has been to more efficient surfactant combinations, GM enzymes and more precise engineered machines capable of more efficient cycles; as a result of polluter-pays laws, consumer demand, and to a lesser extent EU detergency directives, this is one area which is getting better in all fields.

That said the French are miles ahead of us; next time your over their in a hyper market buy some soap powder and washing up liquid and you'll understand.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

You're assuming that my dishwasher is an old one, though. ;o)

Anonymous said...

I know the feeling. The W.C used to flush the big fella away at the first try. These days it could cause a repetitive stress injury trying to drown the fucker.

SaltedSlug said...

What Tomrat said.
One of the real-world things I can point to that our place has had a direct effect on is on surfactant research. In fact we not long ago finished a new beamline with that in mind.
So there.
Stuff's just better these days.

Ed P said...

The USA has had cold-water detergents for decades - it's so well established that many washing machines do not even have warm wash programs. This backward cuntry eh!

HeartAttackSurvivor said...

Bugger the ethics, merits or whatever of "Eco-wash" programs. What concerns ME is your first paragraph: "...I staggered down to the kitchen to make myself my morning cup of coffee. ... the box of dishwasher soap tablets that I'd left out...".
I thought you had a Mrs. Clown to do that sort of thing?

wv: striess. Nice.

HeartAttackSurvivor said...

Oh, and as for all this cold-water detergent bollocks, you really don't want to end up having to hoik evil-smelling grey snot out of your drains, do you?

Ed P said...

HAS - the grey snot would be there anyway, it's not really due to the cold-water detergent. Try a little washing soda for the drains (or stop using your shirtsleeves as wankerchiefs).

Tomrat said...


Not really; this is one area where the detergency performance is simply good enough to allow significant energy savings elsewhere, ergo the Eco wash (albeit the green religion is trying to push this agenda beyond what the free market was already doing; not a good idea).

Will follow up on your drug licencing post as worked in the healthcare field and know a little about this.

Salted Slug,

Ooh, shiny; resolution of surface interactions of the scope described has many applications beyond surfactants - biology, biochemistry, chemical biology...

How on earth do you control/direct neutron capture? How do you get a read out?