From rags to riches: How Regenex is saving textiles from landfill

Every industry is looking at ways of reducing waste and the commercial laundry sector is no exception.

We at Regenex were delighted to be in Tina Gleed’s feature titled Rags to Riches in Laundry and Cleaning Today, which takes a look at what’s happening to reduce the amount of textile waste that is sent to landfill.

Here’s what our Technical Director, Paul Hamilton, told Tina …

Many laundries condemn good linen to rag, way too early in its life cycle, simply because it is stained – be that with food, rust, fake tan, mildew or any other seemingly indelible mark.

But things are changing, and an increasing number of commercial linen suppliers are now becoming much more careful with what they throw away. Many of them are turning to Regenex to get the most out of every item of stock.

Using newly-developed, specialist stain removal techniques that work by opening fibres to release blemishes, Regenex can successfully save an average of 75% of a hotel, hospital or restaurant’s very dirtiest linen.

The same principles can apply from workwear to bedding, towels and tableware. Several companies are now also working with Regenex to re-dye anything that cannot be restored by cleaning – whether that is faded, buttercream napkins, or items that could be given a new life as housekeeping cloths, or coloured spa towels.

Firms enlisting Regenex’s help so far include Shortridge Laundry, which has sites in Workington, Darlington and Dumfries, Saif Linen in Bradford and Bates of London.

All three, serving high-end hotel and hospitality customers, describe themselves as being ‘impressed’ with results so far.

In Shortridge’s first test batches with Regenex, a total of 6,500 high-quality duvets, towels, pillowcases and napkins – which were on the brink of being binned – were successfully recovered, representing a 78.6% success rate.

Bates of London has been working with Regenex for 12 months, saving 14 tonnes of linen in that time. John Kitchiner, general manager, said: “We’ve been very impressed with the service from Regenex in our first 12 months of working together.

“Minimising waste, and making the most of resources, is very important to us. We are so pleased to see stained items – that would otherwise have gone to rag or landfill – revived and returned to stock.”

Saif Linen, meanwhile, benefited from a 70% return rate on the heavily-soiled laundry it sent to Regenex. Of the 900kg processed, a total of 631kg was successfully treated to meet hotel-grade standards of cleanliness.

Such results are justifying the company’s £500,000 of investment at its outset, which allowed processes to be developed and thoroughly – and independently – tested, before being brought to market. Now operations are gathering pace to meet new orders.

The benefit of being savvier at what is condemned, is dual. The first, of course, is a significant cost saving – particularly as Regenex does not charge for the processing of anything that cannot be salvaged.

The second, much greater gain, is environmental. Manufacturing a new 1kg polycotton bedsheet generates a carbon footprint of 8kg and requires 10,000 litres of water – the same amount that an average person would take 10 years to drink.

Therefore, any action to reduce the production of new textiles must be seized upon. Regenex is delighted to have processed 400 tonnes of stained linen so far, returning three quarters of this material to stock – and representing a total saving of 1,200 tonnes of carbon and 30 million litres of water.

Regenex continues to offer a free 400kg trial to new customers. Contact us for more information.



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