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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Clotheslines Make a Comeback: They’re Green, Clean and Diaper-Friendly

Nov 02, 2010 12:30PM ● By Lee Walker

According to the recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, clothes dryers consume as much as six percent of total residential household energy in America, third behind refrigerators and lighting. In addition, the study found that dryers might emit up to a ton of carbon dioxide per household every year. Today, eco-minded individuals like Naples resident Kristina Isenberg are trying to build awareness of Florida’s existing Right to Dry law, FSA § 163.04, which guarantees that sunshine state residents have the option to dry their clothes on outdoor clotheslines, rather than being held hostage by a clothes dryer. Although Isenberg’s citizen activism helps to cut back on energy usage and contributes to the reduction of the Earth’s carbon footprint, this mother of four has a simpler agenda: that her nine-month-old daughter’s cloth diapers dry the old-fashioned way—on the clothesline, bleached by the sun.

On the opposite side of the fence from individuals who argue against clotheslines because of aesthetic and property value concerns, Isenberg is part of a growing environmental movement supported by mothers who use cloth, rather than disposable, diapers.

While pregnant with her fourth child, Isenberg went online and diligently researched the benefits of cloth diapers and ways to clean them. “I was disgusted with the idea of buying more disposable diapers and putting them into the landfill, as I had for my other three children,” she remarks. She found that most websites recommended that cloth diaper stains be bleached by the sun, rather than subjected to lightening chemicals. “I was prepared when my daughter developed an allergy to the chlorine in disposable diapers,” advises Isenberg, whose homeowner association forbids clotheslines.

Grateful that her research uncovered the fact that no governing body may adopt ordinances prohibiting the installation of clotheslines, Isenberg quips, “The clothesline is the easiest, low-tech solar device available, and we are fortunate that Florida is one of the few states that guarantees our right to use it.”

After Isenberg discovered www.LaundryList.org, which offers a Million Solar Dryers Pledge, and www.Right2Dry.org, an online petition to get the First Family of the United States to dry their clothes on the White House lawn for a one-day photo opportunity, she decided to help spread the word with a Creative Clothesline contest. Her search for a clothesline that employs beauty, originality and/or humor to demonstrate how its use saves the environment and money ends December 10.  Photos will be posted on the www.NeapolitanLine.com website, where she advertises that she is available for parties, private consultations and classes for mothers who are interested in learning how to use cloth diapers. “The world of diapers isn’t what it used to be, and most new mothers, like myself, have to be educated about how to care for them,” says the independent distributor for www.GoBabyGoShop.com.

Individuals who get a negative response from their community or homeowner’s association about installing a clothesline can turn to Alexander Lee of www.LaundryList.org. “Alexander can help when anyone encounters deed restrictions, covenants or similar binding agreements that prohibit, or have the effect of prohibiting, clotheslines,” advises Isenberg.
For more information, contact Isenberg  at [email protected].

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