Washing machine offers 'green' clean

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The Independent Online
FIVE YEARS after the dawn of green consumerism, the first product to be officially endorsed as planet-friendly is on sale in British shops, writes David Nicholson-Lord.

The Hoover New Wave washing machine has a detergent-saving 'ecoball' in its sump and, the company claims, should pay for itself in 10 years. Hoover has become the first manufacturer to win a European eco-label for the range of machines, which cost pounds 469 to pounds 519, use up to 31 per cent less water, 36 per cent less detergent and 40 per cent less electricity than the company's previous green model, the Ecologic. It is claimed that running costs will be reduced by pounds 49 a year.

Baroness Denton, an environment minister, yesterday described the award as a milestone. It showed, she said, that the best way to move industry was through consumer pressure. 'We don't need to create pain to get change.'

The UK Ecolabelling Board is the first of 12 national boards in the European Union to award an ecolabel. Difficulty in agreeing what consitutes environmental friendliness means the scheme is much delayed. The next UK ecolabels - for light bulbs, hair sprays and paper products - should be awarded next spring.

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