Why loving linen longer can help cut costs for UK laundries

Here’s what Paul Hamilton, our technical director, wrote recently for Laundry and Cleaning Today. Their latest ‘Keep Calm and Save Energy’ segment highlights ways to maximise the efficiency of a laundry without compromising performance.

The increased cost of fuel bills continue to remain at an all-time high for UK laundries and with environmental concerns affecting most industries sustainability agendas, the concept of re-use as a way to cut costs and control bad habits is becoming increasingly popular.

Sustainability should be at the top of the agenda for all laundries, not least because using the earth’s finite resources to produce new linen continues to be costly – and detrimental to the environment – but the energy savings of reviving and reusing tired material are also a compelling financial reason for laundries to change how they operate.

Recent figures stated by the Textile Services Association suggest up to 50% of linen doesn’t last over four months for reasons of staining and textile damage, so it is likely much of this damage can occur as early as the first wash, very early in the life of the linen.

It is imperative that the staggering volume of linen must be identified, segregated, and removed as soon as possible. If it is not the laundries run the risk of using precious resources processing linen that is clearly unfit for purpose or transporting unusable stock back to the hospitality customers, incurring additional financial and environmental cost as damaging customer satisfaction.

Linen with rips and holes are obviously not possible to be reused and must be sorted and disposed of as rag as soon as possible, preferably sold on to recyclers for a modest fee.

The normal route for linen rejected for staining is for the laundry to undertake “harsher” or “Kill or Cure” wash cycles to attempt to rescue this valuable resource. This wash cycle is far more resource intensive for the laundries than their normal CBW route in terms of water, energy, time, and chemicals, resulting in an effluent with a high Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and so increase costs of disposal.

The success rates for this process vary greatly but are generally in the region of 35%.

At Regenex we utilise our patented multi bath gentle cleaning process that successfully revives up to 80% of condemned linen, each individual piece is inspected so any linen that fails the process is removed and sold as a premium rag so helping to purge the system of non-conformance linen.

This route saves on the substantial cost of replacement linen as well as greatly increasing the green credentials though extending the life of this precious resource.

A recent report form UNEP 2017, looking at Swedish LCA (Life Cycle Analysis), stated the following – if one in five garments had their life extended by just 10% then an estimated 64 million tonnes of textiles would be diverted from landfill, potentially saving three million tonnes of CO2 and 150 million litres of water every year.

If the hospitality sector put 10% of rejected linen back into effective use rather than early ragging, the financial and environmental benefits would be just as compelling.

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