Reply To: Use of washing machines in Indigenous communities

Centre for Appropriate Technology Discussion Waste and reuse Use of washing machines in Indigenous communities Reply To: Use of washing machines in Indigenous communities

Rachel Alford

Hi Lily,

Great questions!

You’re correct in identifying the use of generic, electricity power machines being the ones currently in use in Cape York, and identifying the range of issues associated with using them.

In terms of your design, the commonly identified issue is the one outlined in the design brief – the waste associated with them – as it’s often cheaper and easier to buy a new machine rather than fix a broken one. A flow-on impact is that disposing of broken machines in an appropriate and environmentally safe way is difficult due to the remoteness of Cape York. With that in mind, the other issues you’ve identified are definitely of concern and can be incorporated into your design to achieve maximum positive impact.

When thinking about your design, it’s important to consider the value proposition for your alternative vs the machines already being used, and how you will communicate this to your users to encourage uptake. For example, if you’re proposing that community members switch from their current washing process to a more time and labour intensive system, what is the benefit of them doing so? If it saves them money or is more environmentally friendly, how can you articulate and communicate the benefits of your system over their current processes in a way that encourages them to switch?

I hope this helps, and please reach out with any further questions!