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Clean living: Selecting a sustainable laundry partner

January 22, 2015

By Joseph Ricci

Restaurants cannot exist in a vacuum. They need food suppliers, energy providers, and water and sanitation services. For restaurants to make a sustainable impact, they should work with these suppliers and contractors to adopt shared, environmentally responsible business practices.

To that end, operators must make sure the contractors they use are conscientious and can help minimize their restaurants’ environmental footprints. Contractors also must control costs and then pass along those related savings to their restaurant partners.

Right now, commercial launderers are among those contractors who are seeking to operate more sustainability. For restaurateurs, outsourcing laundry services to these sustainable contractors can produce potential cost and resource savings. If you’re wondering how, here are some ways:

  • They focus on reducing water, electricity and natural gas usage
  • Reuse and recycle textile products
  • Manage inventory to maximize product life

So how does a launderer operate sustainability? To start, they follow best practices that maximize efficiency. For example, implementing water-recycling practices and installing efficient washing machines, decreases the usage of fresh water and energy.

To help restaurateurs and other business operators select sustainable laundry partners, the TRSA developed a Clean Green certification program that recognizes companies demonstrating responsible environmental leadership. To achieve certification, launderers take significant steps to minimize waste, like:

Photo credit: Superior Linen Service,Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Recover heat from drained hot water and heat dispersed from the process of warming water
  • Recapture drained water from rinses for reuse
  • Use environmentally-friendly detergents
  • Remove solids and liquids from waste water
  • Use solar energy and energy-efficient lighting
  • Implement recycling programs
  • Reroute trucks to save vehicle fuel
  • Deploy spill prevention plans, and
  • Employ preventive maintenance practices

We know reducing your restaurant’s carbon footprint can be difficult. Using sustainable laundry services can help make a measurable impact on the environment and also generate energy and water savings. Sustainability is more than a fad; it’s here to stay and your restaurant can only benefit from practicing it.

Joseph Ricci is president and CEO of the Textile Rental Services Association. It is based in Alexandria, Va., and represents nearly 95 percent of the textile services market.

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