In Washington State, washing inmates’ laundry in cold water, composting kitchen waste, and collecting rain water are holding down costs to both the taxpayer and the environment, reports the Olympian. The state’s 15 prisons have seen some successes in the last four years, including 23 percent less waste sent to dumps, 18 percent less vehicle fuel used, 1.5 percent less energy use per square foot, and a 40 percent increase in recycling
There’s a line to get work in one prison’s composting and garden program, said Jeremy Wilcox, an inmate. The fresh vegetables make for better lunches, he added. Not all of the changes have been popular. Washing clothes and bed sheets in cold water requires adding a chemical sanitizer, and the whites don’t come out as bright as they would after a hot water wash.