Future of Washing Initiative’s Activities and Blog Examines Sustainable Laundry Practices

The Future of Washing Initiative aims to “create a world where people can live sustainably, hygienically, and comfortably.” It provides a platform for stakeholders to discuss and suggest solutions on the future of washing, spanning across industries and academic disciplines, and sharing knowledge and new findings among private, academic, and public sectors. It was established in December 2018 collaboratively by Future Earth, The University of Tokyo Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (merged into the Institute for Future Initiatives in April 2019), and Kao Corporation.

Currently, the Initiative has decided to break down the large theme of “washing”, and focus on “laundry” as the main theme to start a discussion. We have organized seminars and created a blog with the aim to think and discuss how much natural resources are used in our daily washing activities, how washing is impacting the natural environment, and what each of us can do to create a sustainable society.

In our first-ever seminar, we focused on Life Cycle Assessment, and had a very active dialogue with participants on how to decrease the environmental impact of laundry. We are planning to hold events with themes related to the future of washing. 

In the blog, we provide information on sustainable laundry from multiple perspectives such as environmental impacts of laundry, responsible consumption and production by businesses and individuals, and differences in cultural practices of laundry. You can access a summary of the blog here. Below is a list of past blog entries (Japanese).

Vol.1 Environmental impacts of laundry

Vol.2 Microfibers: produced by laundry, and flowing into the ocean through our wastewater 

Vol.3 Patagonia’s activities surrounding microfibers

Vol.4 Microplastics and air pollution

Vol.5 Environmental issues of clothing

Vol.6 Is clothing rental good for the environment?

Vol.7 What is Life Cycle Assessment?

Vol.8 Life cycle of clothing and laundry

Vol.9 COVID-19 and its impact on the environment