We can dirty up a full dishwasher's worth of dishes in no time—not because there's an army to feed (there are only two of us), but because one of us (that'd be me) doesn't know yet how to put together an efficiently-prepared meal. I've been combating this deficiency by watching lots of cooking shows.
In the meantime, we're running the dishwasher about two times a week. It's not one of those super-efficient European ones that we've touted here on Re-Nest, but it does sport the Energy Star label. And we've come up with a few more ways to lessen its footprint.
First, we use a more-planet-friendly-than-not detergent. We like Seventh Generation Free & Clear dishwasher detergent (the powdered kind, even though there are two ingredients that the company has recently found are not natural. We're hoping they replace the petroleum-based polymer soon, but we may try to find a truly all-natural detergent before then.
Second, we run it on the shortest wash possible. No more "heavy pots and pans" cycle or pre-rinse. And finally, we let the dishes air dry.
We're planning on moving more toward a two-sink hand wash system and using the dishwasher once a week or less, as soon as I learn how to dirty less than twelve dishes to cook a meal. Any tips?
What do you do to lesson the ecological impact of washing dishes?