Laundry against landfill: how green are your clothes-washing habits? – quiz

Sophie Benson
·3-min read
  1. How much water does a washing machine use per wash during an average cycle?

    1. 5 litres.

    2. 20 litres.

    3. 50 litres.

  2. How many items of used clothing go to landfill in the UK every year?

    1. 500 tonnes.

    2. 2,000 tonnes.

    3. 350,000 tonnes.

  3. Once thrown away, the average polyester product is likely to survive for how many years in landfill?

    1. 25.

    2. 100.

    3. 200.

  4. How many months of extra wear would it take to lower the carbon, water and waste footprint of the UK’s clothing by 20-30%?

    1. 9 months.

    2. 12 months.

    3. 18 months.

  5. Most of the energy in a laundry cycle is used for …

    1. Spinning the drum.

    2. Heating the water.

    3. Pumping and draining the water.

  6. Awareness of our environmental impact is already creating change. So far, reducing washing temperatures, tumble drying less, and ironing less has reduced the carbon footprint of clothing by how much?

    1. 100,000 tonnes

    2. 500,000 tonnes.

    3. 700,000 tonnes.

  7. Microfibres are the tiny synthetic fibres shed by your clothes in the wash. Just how small are they?

    1. 1 denier.

    2. 1 millimetre.

    3. 1 centimetre.

  8. How many short microfibres can a fleece jacket shed in a single wash?

    1. 10,000.

    2. 250,000.

    3. 800,000.

  9. How much carbon could a household save in a month by drying outside on a washing line instead of in a tumble dryer?

    1. 10kg.

    2. 25kg.

    3. 36kg.

  10. Tumble drying not only takes a toll on the environment, but on your clothes too. Just 20 cycles of drying can reduce the strength of fabric by …

    1. 15%.

    2. 50%.

    3. 75%.

  11. Dark clothes should be washed …

    1. Inside out.

    2. At a high temperature.

    3. By hand.

  12. How many new fashion items are bought each week in the UK?

    1. 10 million.

    2. 23 million.

    3. 38 million.


1:C - That’s roughly the amount each of us is recommended to drink in a month., 2:C - The value of all of the clothes we send to landfill adds up to around £140m each year., 3:C - This means that every piece of polyester clothing discarded in landfill may still exist., 4:A - Currently, the average lifespan for a garment in the UK is around 2.2 years., 5:B - Heating the water accounts for around 90% of the energy used in a laundry cycle. Washing at cooler temperatures not only saves energy but is gentler on your clothes too., 6:C - That’s the equivalent of taking around 700,000 flights from London to New York., 7:A - This is equivalent to a single strand of silk or a fifth of the diameter of a human hair. They’re so tiny that they can slip through standard washing machine filters and enter our waterways., 8:B - So many microfibres are shed through washing that they’ve been found in 83% of drinking water samples globally., 9:C - Tumble dryer use is carbon-intensive. If run regularly, they can emit more carbon in one year than a tree can absorb in 50 years., 10:B - This means your clothes are twice as likely to tear after repeated tumble drying, so reducing their lifespan. , 11:A - Washing dark colours inside out helps prevent fading. You can prolong the quality of the colour even more by washing cool and air-drying., 12:C - And 11 million go into landfill each week.


  1. 9 and above.

    Excellent. You’re practically the Greta Thunberg of laundry.

  2. 0 and above.

    Not great. Back to the drawing board. Or should that be the washing board?

  3. 5 and above.

    There’s room for improvement. Why don’t you give it another spin?

Ecover is on a mission to liberate the value of our clothing by challenging the nation to wash wisely, wear longer and waste less. Find out more at