Ode to my clothesline

When spring finally arrives, everyone has their own rituals to welcome the warm season: the first bike ride, the first grilled burgers, or the first cone at the local dairy farm. For me, I confess, one of the things that makes me realize that winter is finally over is my first load on the clothesline. I really don’t know where such a deep affection for this rather banal gesture comes from.

Part of the answer certainly comes from the fact that I often tend to overthink my choices. Is this organic and certified fair trade coffee a truly sustainable choice? Should I replace cow’s milk with soy milk? Oats? Drinking from a reusable cup? Does washing my mug negate my environmental benefits? Shouldn’t I have some tea?

Unfortunately, very often environmental solutions come with cumbersome and complex technologies, the impact of which is difficult to measure. Yes, electric vehicles in general produce less greenhouse gases than gasoline-powered vehicles, but they require a few metals and other elements in order to be produced, which are limited. Is it really the best choice for the planet? Wouldn’t it be better for me to choose a small car with a gas engine? In short, I often get headaches from weighing the pros and cons of each of my options.

With a clothesline, you don’t have to ask a million questions: it’s by far the most sustainable choice. We not only save the energy of the dryer, but also extend the life of our clothes (because they are more slowly damaged) and the dryer, which can rest a bit. We also save on electricity bills (about a dime per load). And the environmental impact of a rope and two pulleys doesn’t have to be dissected from noon to two o’clock! In fact, this is an ideal example of what is called low-tech, that is, simple technology, not very resource-intensive, efficient, easy to repair and maintain, and accessible to everyone.

That’s why it’s utter nonsense to me to see that some condominium associations and even some municipalities or some districts still ban clotheslines, usually for aesthetic reasons. For example, in Montreal, clotheslines are completely banned in the L’Isle de Seur and Anjou-sur-le-Lac areas. Several districts also control their installation. They are sometimes only allowed in the backyard of residential buildings, and may be prohibited from crossing an alley or clinging to a Hydro-Québec pole. You can find out more by visiting this page.

In the United States, the Right to Dry movement aims to prevent clothesline bans. In about twenty US states, such as Colorado, Florida, Maine and Vermont, now the municipality or homeowners association cannot ban the installation of clotheslines. Ontario introduced similar regulations in 2008, but some municipalities still have regulations governing the use of clotheslines. As such, the City of Mississauga only allows one clothesline per dwelling, and it must be 1.5 meters or more inside the property boundary.

For my part, I am very happy to live in a place where a cable can be installed, and I will continue to use this right until my fingers are completely frozen widening my stroke (usually around mid-October). ). In the meantime, I will try to make the most of the summer and the sun.


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