Water is, of course the new gold; with water shortages everywhere from Florida to Atlanta to the entire state of California, everything that reduces usage helps out.
First came the waterless urinal...if you don't know what that is, it's the standard men's urinal with a chemical fluid instead of water ad which requires no flushing. And, if you want to cutting edge, you might consider the waterless toilet.
Now comes the waterless washing machine.
While this may sound like an oxymoron (and in fact it does use some water,) this story from Leeds, UK says:
Virtually waterless washing machine heralds cleaning revolution
Researchers at the University of Leeds have developed a new way of cleaning clothes using less than 2% of the water and energy of a conventional washing machine. The revolutionary technology will provide alternatives to both domestic washing and dry cleaning, heralding the world’s first “virtually waterless” washing system.
Xeros, a University of Leeds spin-out, is commercialising the technology with some of the biggest names in the washing and dry-cleaning industries.
The process is based on the use of plastic granules (or chips) which are tumbled with the clothes to remove stains. A range of tests, carried out according to worldwide industry protocols to prove the technology performs to the high standards expected in the cleaning industry, show the process can remove virtually all types of everyday stains as effectively as existing processes whilst leaving clothes as fresh as normal washing. In addition, the clothes emerge from the process almost dry, reducing the need for tumble-dryers.
This is expected to be on the market by next year. But there's been rumors of such technology before, most noticably in 2005, "when two industrial design students at the National University of Singapore developed a device that uses negative ions, compressed air, and deodorants to power out those tough stains — detergent free." But that''s the last time it was heard of.
A typical washing machine uses 5-7 gallons of water per wash (if you have the front-loading kind,) or, as is more common, 15-20 gallons for the top-loading models, which are still the best-sellers in the US. In addition, if you use hot water (you don't do you?,) there's the energy used to heat the water.