Loving linen for longer – the next big carbon footprint breakthrough?

The devastation of plastic in our oceans is currently our highest-profile environmental concern, thanks to the Blue Planet effect. As a result, moves to ban carrier bags, outlaw drinking straws and banish single-use packaging are gathering pace – and rightly so.

But the textile industry’s relationship with this global crisis remains comparatively low profile – for now. The problems with polyester production are not yet a topic of dinner party conversation, but our prediction is that they will be, and soon.

The petro-chemical industry uses large quantities of oil in the production of everyday items – including the ubiquitous poly/cotton bedsheet. Though we don’t associate hotel or hospital textiles with harming sea birds, their manufacture certainly contributes to the chemical disposal problems pervading our planet.

A spotlight has been shone on the global issues of cotton production in 2018, via media such as the BBC TV documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets. Meanwhile, our habit of confining old textiles to landfill in the UK is reportedly costing £82m every year.

So, put together, what does this mean for linen and laundry specialists working with the hospitality and healthcare sectors? The short answer is that action is needed. One potentially effective measure is to be cleverer with the journey of poly/cottons and cottons – from manufacture, to life span, to disposal.

Forward-thinking players are now trying to get ahead of the curve, boosting their environmental credentials – and saving money in the process – before our industry’s practices are put under greater public and professional scrutiny.

Could loving linens for longer be the next big carbon footprint breakthrough? Growing numbers of laundry specialists think so.

Making linens last longer

Developing more careful attitudes to the life span of every item of linen – whether a napkin, pillow case or lab coat – can pay big dividends, both in reducing costs and benefiting the environment.

A total of 70% of the carbon footprint of a poly/cotton bedsheet is accounted for in its manufacture. Just 30% relates to the subsequent washings, ironing and transportation during its life. Therefore, ordering fewer replacement items can make a huge difference for the better.

So, how can linens be made to last longer?  Linen gets ripped or torn, or simply wears out. But laundry houses are needlessly condemning tonnes of good items, just because they are stained and cannot be effectively cleaned using everyday washing processes, even at high ‘kill or cure’ temperatures.

While very dirty linens are generally a small minority of the commercial washing pile, the sheer scale of the industry means that volumes of textiles being needlessly discarded are significant.

Gentle cleaning with up to 80% success rate

Regenex has developed a gentle, multi-bath approach proven to be effective in rescuing 75% to 80% of condemned linens thought to be indelibly marked by fake tan, rust, mildew, food or anything else! We do not charge for processing anything we cannot save.

Every set of chef’s whites, duvet cover or bath towel returned to stock represents an item that does not have to be re-ordered. Given that 10% of an average laundry’s turnover is used on topping up its stock, the economies to be made can be considerable.

Commercial laundries all over the UK are now turning to Regenex. We have built our capacity gradually and are now ready to take on new customers.

Our processes have the added environmental benefit of sharing heat and steam with textile dyeing treatments on the same site in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Regenex can also work with customers to re-dye textiles such as tablecloths and napkins that have become faded or stained.

So, loving linen for longer is one effective way for linen and laundry specialists to make a big difference to their carbon footprint – while benefiting their bottom line.

Regenex is offering a FREE trial of 400g of kilos of linen to any new customer. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

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