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Doing the dishes for science

Survey on washing-up behaviour of Europeans

Wastefulness starts at home - in the kitchen sink. The amount of water and energy used in doing the washing-up more is often ten times that required by a resource-friendly economy dish-washer. And no significant improvement is achieved. These are some initial findings of a survey being run at the University of Bonn, where home economics technology Professor Dr. Rainer Stamminger has been examining the washing-up behaviour of people from seven European countries. He is now extending his survey to include test dish-washers in the United Kingdom. The survey is conducted in co-operation with the ITS Testing & Research Centre at Milton Keynes.
"We already know that there are 'super dish-washers' and 'dishwashing economisers'. But what we don't know is how frequently the individual types of dish-washer occur in the population. Nor are we informed about significant differences in consumer behaviour throughout Europe in this respect," says Professor Stamminger, summing up the goals of the survey. The scientists also hope that their venture will yield better answers concerning the real advantages of a dishwasher.
Test persons are required to wash a total of 140 dishes that the scientists have previously made dirty - according to scientific criteria, of course. In accordance with a norm for dishwashers, the dishes have been "decorated" with egg, spinach, margarine and other foodstuffs and left to dry for two hours. As the test persons commence their job, the researchers watch them and take notes. There is also a questionnaire component to the survey.
Press Conference
Journalists are invited to find out more about the survey at a press conference to be held at the ITS Testing & Research Centre, Davy Avenue, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, at 11am on 19 February 2003.

Professor Dr. Rainer Stamminger
University of Bonn
Tel: +49-228 73 5955
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Simon Leach
Senior Scientist, ITS RTC
Tel.: 0 1908 857 770
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University of Bonn
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