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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 17th February 2017 > THE DRY CLEAN


Washing machines that use beads and detergent could ease California’s drought and help save the environment


TWO YEARS ago, Rob Hegel had his “magic bean moment.” Hegel, the director of purchasing for a Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, was walking through a trade show in New York when someone handed him a test tube filled with white nylon beads half the size of Tic Tacs. “The person told me that what I was holding would not only save me hundreds of thousands of dollars— it would save the environment too,” Hegel says.

Earlier that year, with California’s rivers and reservoirs at record low levels, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency. “We can’t make it rain,” he said while establishing strict water-conservation measures. He called upon all Californians to save water in “every way possible.”

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