Doing laundry is a necessity for most of us but washing and drying clothes, bedding or towels has environmental drawbacks. It often takes a lot of resources to get linens clean, from the water and power used to the potentially harmful chemicals in detergents.
Here, our Managing Director, Mike Ferrand discusses how businesses can make their laundry practices more sustainable and reap the associated benefits.
What is laundry sustainability?
Sustainable laundry is not simply using cold water in wash cycles or low heat when drying. It isn’t hotels asking guests to re-use towels or commercial launderers switching to an eco-friendly detergent. For businesses with laundry operations, sustainability means considering all sides of conservation. That translates to limiting energy and water use, as well as focusing on environmentally friendly processes. It’s about finding a holistic solution, not fixing one piece of the puzzle.
How can laundry operations be made more sustainable?
Traditional commercial laundry machines are notoriously wasteful, particularly when it comes to water use. However, water isn’t the only resource gobbled up in laundry operations. It takes a surprising amount of energy to heat the water used in traditional washing machines, so use cold water whenever possible. It is just as effective at disinfecting linens.
Laundry can cost a business a lot in energy use, so it’s important to watch consumption. Thankfully, today’s technology provides the opportunity to better monitor the cost of laundry operations, as well as the usage of individual resources. Laundry software solutions also allow businesses to take the same control over their laundry service.
Replacing older equipment with low-water laundry machines will save water, energy and detergent on every load. Energy and water reductions can be up to 50% and 80%, respectively, depending on the machine.
What are the benefits of sustainable laundry practices?
In addition to protecting the earth’s natural resources, sustainable laundry practices can save money on utility bills. One business saved over £70,000 in one year by reducing the amount of money spent on water, energy and chemicals. They also saved 1.7 million litres of water and more than 70,000 kilowatt-hours on energy per year.
The above article was published in the September/October 2019 issue of Facility Cleaning & Maintenance, flick to page 20.