In both Turkey and the Azores, most local people do not use dryers. In fact, they do not even have dryers. This isn't because they are poor. It is simply because they consider it a very wasteful and expensive luxury item that they can easily do without. From rundown apartment buildings to luxury high rises to homes in the country and in the city, you will see clothes hanging outside.
We lived on Base in Turkey so we had a provided dryer that we used. But in the Azores, living off Base, our dryer wasn't very good and when we ran it, our bill went up incredibly. I therefore got in the habit, especially during our second year there (when there was a lot less rain), to just hang the laundry.
My pocketbook thanked me.
I did some basic google research during our transition to the USA. From what I could determine, not using our dryer could possibly save us about $30-$50 per month. So we asked our landlord if there were any HOA rules against laundry lines. He told us there was not. And we hung a line outside.
Twenty-four hours later our landlord called and told us he was mistaken. There was a rule, and in fact, he had already received a phone call from an irate neighbor. He was very frustrated with the neighbor for being so "in our business so fast" but said he had no choice but to ask us to take the line down.
Now let me say that I know I don't live in Europe anymore.
I know I must accept the nuances of America.
And I know that those nuances are things that make me feel at home.
I am in no way slamming the USA.
And I am in no way saying that I don't want this to be my home.
I'm also not saying I am up on all the environmentally friendly things to do.
My kids wear disposable diapers.
Because I'm lazy.
And sometimes I buy paper plates.
I know that laundry lines don't look that nice.
And I know that we chose to move into a place with an HOA.
We respect our landlord and know this is his home.
And we are prepared to follow all rules.
We immediately took down the clothes line.
However, this little story really got me to thinking.
How is it that we are so environmentally conscious in the USA in so many areas but we don't encourage avoiding dryer usage? We encourage moms to try cloth diapers and we recycle the heck out of things and we look down on using paper products. We get credits for using energy efficient appliances and we look into electric cars.
But do you even know someone who doesn't have a dryer? Most places outlaw clothes lines in the USA. And even in places that they are allowed, who actually uses one?
I'm wondering if I am missing something? Again, please note that you will see posts from me in the days, weeks, and months to come discussing the differences I am seeing upon my return to America. These are not a slam on America. There are many things I think we do WAY better. It's just having your eyes opened a bit and wondering if we are just missing it or if I am missing something?