Reducing Water, Chemicals and Energy in Plants
Sustainable and efficient laundry operations are vital to our success. We are proud of our environmental practices – from water conservation and recycling to wastewater treatment and high-efficiency wash formulas that minimize the use of chemicals.
Our laundry facilities are far more efficient in their use of water, chemicals and energy than any home laundry. Consider that our high-capacity machines use about 250% less water and 160% less energy per pound of laundry than consumers’ machines.
At several of our plants, we have installed an industry-leading water recycling system that reduces fresh water use by up to 60%. The ultrafiltration water treatment system moves wash water through ceramic membranes, removes dirt and allows clean water to be re-used in subsequent wash cycles.
As water moves through a wash cycle with detergent added, it has a higher pH level. Subsequently re-using this filtered water requires the addition of fewer chemicals. As a result, we’ve lowered chemical use by about 30% – another benefit of our water re-use system.
In addition, G&K is a leader in voluntarily phasing out the use of laundry formulations with NonlyPhenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) – a chemical compound that can be harmful to wildlife. G&K has converted to NPE-free formulations in all of its laundry operations.
G&K is installing innovative equipment to recover heat from wastewater and boiler stacks in our plants. These, and other energy saving initiatives, enabled the company to reach our goal of lowering natural gas consumption in our plants by 10%. We’ve also replaced inefficient lighting in our plants to reduce electricity consumption. More recently, we have begun installing a system that will provide 24/7 monitoring capabilities of our natural gas and water systems.