Eco-friendly lifestyle practices, based on the concept of ‘Sustainability’, have become the societal norm in the 21st century. It is an important concept that makes us aware of our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability helps us manage our natural resources, as well as manage our economic and social resources while protecting the integrity of the environment and living beings that inhabit it.
When one talks about applying the concept of sustainability in laundry planning practices, it goes way beyond conventional eco-friendly practices. The idea is to find a universal solution that covers all aspects, rather than just fixing one niche problem. In a nutshell, eco-friendly practices in laundry planning can be interpreted as conserving energy and water usage, as well as focusing on reducing carbon footprint simultaneously.
Laundromats or commercial laundry businesses use traditional washing machines and dryers that cause a lot of wastage of water, while also consuming a vast amount of electricity to operate all the machines at the same time. The best way is plan a sustainable laundry planning set-up is to replace traditional machinery with new technology that can reduce water and energy consumption by 50-80%. Some interesting stats to note when sustainable laundry practices are implemented in laundry planning of commercial laundry businesses:
The above stats clearly highlight how sustainable laundry practices can cause a significant impact on water, energy, and resource consumption in a positive manner.
How can humans, laundry businesses, hotels can apply the concept of eco-friendly practices in laundry planning?
Here are some pointers below that can be implemented:
1) Installing and using an energy-efficient washing machine
Energy-efficient washing machines are considered one-time investments, sure they are expensive compared to their traditional counterparts, but yield better and eco-friendly results. One such fact is that energy-efficient washing machines have the advantage of spinning the rinse water from the clothes at a higher rate reducing residual moisture resulting in less time in the dryer for clothes.
2) Upgrading to water-less washing machines
Opting for the installation of low-water washing machines or water-less washing machines while planning a commercial laundry set-up can help reduce energy consumption by 50% and water consumption by 80%.
2) Opting for cold water rather than hot water
It takes the washing machine a large amount of energy to heat the water used in traditional machines, thus gobbling more power than needed for the functioning of the machine.
According to a study, ‘The warm water rinse option should be removed from all washing machines. This has the potential to save 1.66 x lOI4 Btu/hr (1.75 x 1017 J) or 11.1% of the primary energy used in the residential laundry process.’ Also, cold water is as effective as warm water for disinfecting clothes or linen.
3) Hotels should encourage guests to reuse towels and linens
Reusing towels and bath linens by hotel guests can help reduce water, energy, and labor costs by 17%. Next time a guest spots a sign that says ‘Resue your towel and save the planet’ remember the hotel is expecting you to be mindful of your consumption, and should not be considered as a money-saving gimmick.
4) Using eco-friendly detergents and softeners
Traditional detergents and disinfectants are notorious for having microplastics and beads such as polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP) present in them. That is why it is important to opt for non-toxic alternatives for laundry cleaning such as plant-based detergents to oxygen-based brighteners, even using traditional items such as white vinegar as a stain remover and fabric softener.
5) Opting for natural clothing fibers while shopping for clothes
Microplastics and microfibres exist in clothing made from polyester, polyamide, spandex, and nylon. And to make matters worse, this category of clothing can shed up to 700,000 microfibres (according to World Economic Forum) with each wash. Microfibres are so minute that they pass into water bodies, unfiltered, thus contaminating and disrupting the aquatic bodies and life, and also leading back to our homes in the form of tap water. To make matter worse, microfibres can also be airborne thus having the possibility of being inhaled by humans and settling in the lungs.
The solution to combat the microplastic and microfibre problem is to opt for clothing made from natural fibers such as organic cotton, organic wool, bamboo, etc.
6) Avoid dry-cleaning, if possible
Dry-cleaning might be good for your clothes, but hazardous for the environment and health. It is because most dry-cleaners use a chemical called perc (perchloroethylene), which has been linked to causing cancer and other health problems in humans. Opting for a ‘green cleaner’, who use liquid CO2 to clean clothes safely without exposing their workers or their customers to dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals.
7) Monitoring laundry usage
Hotel businesses should opt for laundry software solutions to monitor the cost of laundry operations as well as usage of individual resources. Monitoring laundry usage is a cost-effective and resource-saving strategy to consider while planning laundry operations.
Laundry planning can be technical and may involve bullet-proof strategies when it comes to implementing eco-friendly practices. To help businesses with this dilemma, hiring experts/consultants can be a good idea. These qualified individuals can help laundry businesses streamline their operations and help optimize every part of the laundry planning process, while leaving a positive impact, in the form of a low carbon footprint, on the environment.
Laundry Planning is a core area of expertise for consultants at HPG. They have successfully helped hotels, laundry businesses, and many more commercial laundry establishments run operations, manage and train employees, devise strategies for a constant cash flow to maintain the business operations while adhering to national and international standards.
Consultants at HPG are constantly pushing the bar when it comes to applying new ways to help laundry businesses become more ‘green’. To know more on the subject, get in touch with a laundry planning consultant at HPG.