Carin Froehlich pegs her laundry to three clotheslines strung between trees outside her 18th century farmhouse, knowing that her actions annoy local officials who have asked her to stop.
Froehlich is among the growing number of people across America fighting for the right to dry their laundry outside against a rising tide of housing associations who oppose the practice despite its energy-saving green appeal.
Their interests are represented by Project Laundry List, a group that argues people can save money and reduce carbon emissions by not using their electric or gas dryers, according to the group’s executive director, Alexander Lee.
Widespread adoption of clotheslines could significantly reduce U.S. energy consumption, argued Lee, who said dryer use accounts for about 6 percent of U.S. residential electricity use.
Although there are no formal laws in the southeast Pennsylvania town of Perkasie against drying laundry outside, a town official called Froehlich to ask her to stop drying clothes in the sun. And she received two anonymous notes from neighbors saying they did not want to see her underwear flapping about.
“They said it made the place look like trailer trash,” she said.
Froehlich says she hangs her underwear inside.