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WOPCOM Blog: Heimtextil 2019: New concept well received, by Geert Böttger

From 8 to 11 January, Heimtextil 2019, the largest European exhibition in the field of interior textiles, took place in Frankfurt am Main. There was a restructuring of the trade fair, which also included household textiles and the central hall for our branch, hall 8. Approximately 1,800 exhibitors were “moved” and the result was received positively.

Heimtextil is the first major furnishing fair of the year, and traditionally a barometer of the expectations and composition of the textile furnishing industry. Although economic uncertainties are observed and there is an increasingly clear restructuring in favour of online trading, the mood at Heimtextil was positive, especially among the exhibitors.

The positive feeling is increasingly the case for the textile service industry and its flat-ware suppliers, because the health care market keeps getting bigger and tourism keeps breaking the record of overnight stays. “In general hotels are doing well,” says Peter Beirholm, owner of the well-known service provider Beirholms Vaevarier, “there is great interest in hotel and house-specific solutions.”

The trade fair was a success

The fair reflected its success in its numbers. On the supply side a new record was achieved with 3025 exhibitors, even though some old exhibitors, such as Frottana and Dibella, decided not to exhibit this edition, to get an idea of the new hall concept, before partaking.

There was a slight decrease in the number of visitors. 67500 visitors in 2019 compared to 68584 in 2018. The reason for this could be the difficult travel conditions in southern Germany as a result of the winter weather.

Trends

The fair usually has a ground-breaking function, when it comes to trends, because like no other fair it illustrates the interior context of all product groups. In this year’s theme “Toward Utopia”, the trends were derived from current social trends and design trends.

Toward Utopia (Image: Messe Frankfurt / Pietro Sutera)

In addition, a number of extra trend themes were highlighted with specific special shows, lectures and thematic tours. Heimtextil is so rich in inspiration that it perfectly fulfils the informative function of a trade fair.

So, what was new? Where lies the focus?
Heimtextil visualized the subject of sleep as an unfolding lifestyle trend. Restful sleep is one of the most important building blocks for long-term physical and mental well-being. At Heimtextil, a series of new products and aspects emerged that help people sensitize and analyse their sleep patterns and promote good sleep.

Focus on hotel furnishings

The fair presented solutions for textile furnishing – individual, durable and functional – from textile with acoustic function or special wear resistance to modular carpets, sun protection or innovative wall coverings. During a themed tour with hotel hostesses, a number of suppliers of bed and bath linen were highlighted.

Focus on sustainability

Numerous exhibitors presented solutions, for example in the recycling of PET bottles and ocean plastics, as well as in the use of certified natural materials. Halls 10, 11 and 12 for suppliers of flat goods were well attended during the exhibition days and offered a series of interesting trends and innovations.

Examples of innovations introduced at Heimtextil

  • Floringo’s Loungeline, for relaxation and wellness areas or the swimming pool. Their bathrobe range has been expanded with a version with 250 gr/m².
  • Modular system by Beirholm, fibre mixtures equipped with EU Ecolabel, flexible in terms of ecological qualities.
  • Setex has put the focus on sustainability and presented the Setex Greenline, a variety of mattress protection products which are certified according to different standards (GOTS, GRS, Made in Green).
  • Benevit van Clewe’s hotel collection now includes 100% cotton jersey products with a PU foil, which meets the increased demand from hotels for hygienic products.
  • Advansa introduced an easy-care microfibre that can be washed and dried just like a normal filler fibre. In general, microfibers require a very long drying process. The new easy-care type microfibre (1,1dtx) absorbs less water thanks to a modified, siliconized finish with hydrophobic properties.

There were enough bathroom textiles to be seen (Image: Messe Frankfurt / Jean-Luc Valentin)

The next Heimtextil in Frankfurt am Main – the 50th edition – takes place from Tuesday the 7th until Friday the 10th of January 2020.

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WOPCOM Blog: Hygiene Threats Are Business Opportunities, by Geert Böttger

Megatrend Hygiene 

Safeguarding  hygiene is a rising, long-term trend, based on rising expectations of people towards a healthy and safe environment and structural, man-made hygiene challenges. That provides manifold opportunities for textile services to develop sustainable businesses.

First of all we need to clarify the term „HYGIENE“ and it`s health policy dimension. We understand HYGIENE as a preventive set of measures  to maintain or improve health of individuals and groups. The aim of hygiene is to prevent infections. Thus maintaining or improving hygiene has not only an individual dimension, but also an important health policy dimension.

Recent Trends Challenging Hygiene
There are a number of recent trends, which facilitate infections. Most of them are rooted in general trends of modern societies. They will persist and work as growth drivers for textile services:

  1. Increasing urbanisation – more than 50 % of the world population are living in cities, and the concentration will increase. Very often the infrastructure of cities cannot keep up with the growth of people and their hygiene needs. UN estimates that roughly 1 billion people are living in slums worldwide with deficiencies in hygiene conditions. That is more than 10 % of world population. Also large refugee camps often have severe hygiene problems.
  2. High mobility – in former times travelling was much more difficult and more time consuming than today. The spread of infections was curbed by low and slow mobility. With the constantly increasing tourism and increasing air traffic, infection risks and infection speed has multiplied.
  3. Men and animal are getting closer – the majority of infections and epidemics is coming from animals. As mankind is spreading more and more, many people are getting closer to animals
  4. Industrialisation of farming – large herds in small spaces increase the risk of infection. Use of antibiotics led to resistant incubators, which cause additional infection risks in the food chain.
  5. Rise of temperatures – rising temperatures as a part of climate change, allows a more effective spread of mosquitos, one of the most important species transferring infections.
  6. Longer life – People are getting older, and more vulnerable towards infections, because the immune system is getting weaker
  7. More hospital acquired infections – in many countries, hospitals and homes for the elderly suffer under hospital acquired infections. To a large degree this happens because of bacteria, which are meanwhile resistant against antibiotics.

Role for textile services
These trends challenging hygiene linger into the field of textile care in the following markets, where they enlarge business opportunities:

  1. hospitals: flat linen, workwear, medical textiles like surgery drapes
  2. care homes: flat linen, workwear, private wear of care home residents
  3. food and beverage production and distribution  „from farm to fork“
  4. pharmaceutical production and distribution
  5. cosmetical production and distribution
  6. hospitality: bed- and bath textiles and workwear, kitchen textiles
  7. restaurants: table linen, kitchen textiles, workwear
  8. catering: table linen, workwear, kitchen textiles
  9. washrooms: hand washing and room hygiene

Specialized textile services are ideal to serve in these sensible fields of interest, because they can insure on an industrial level, that required hygiene criteria are met constantly. On premises laundries or private laundering of contaminated workwear incorporate higher risks for individuals and groups, because they are less specialized and trained in the treatment of potentially infectious textiles.

Certificates Qualify
The special qualification of textile service companies is often visible in terms of certificates, which these laundries receive after audits. In fact, if these certificates have penetrated the market, they are kind of organising the supply, because companies without a certificate for hospital textile care, have no chance to tender for hospital textiles.

Hohenstein as one of the world leading certifying institutes audits specialized textile care productions for hospitals, for food, and for elderly homes according to German RAL 992 standards. However, this is a quite specific approach, which led to establish a European based certificate according to EN 14065.

These certificates need to be in line with some policy guidelines, identifying critical areas and parameters to prevent hygiene problems. An example are the guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin for German. RKI  also includes the list of those washing procedures, which have the RKI permission to be used with hospital textiles.

Dynamics in the Hygiene Market
Development in the hygiene markets are driven by several factors, especially in terms of new hygiene threats, new regulations,  improvements in textile car technology and improvements in the textiles used. But the most driving force is the competition between textile service suppliers among themselves. This competition ensures that innovation in material or processes will be applied to outpace competitors at least temporarily.

Current lines of competition are:

  • workwear with improved functionality for example relative to micro climate control
  • workwear with attention to ergonomic and style
  • textiles which have anti-bacterial functions
  • automated sorting to avoid that textile care workers need to sort contaminated textiles manually
  • low temperature washing processes
  • digitalization to improve data generation, data evaluation and collaboration within the textile care chain
  • RFID controlled processes, which allow for many important economic information, but also for hygiene information like: how often is the workwear used before returning to the launderer
  • Robots: the incorporation of robots in the production process, should reduce hygiene risks in production and distribution. However, it is unclear yet, how and how quickly robots will change the hygiene challenges in the long run.

In a time and planning horizon of 5 to 10 years, the hygiene markets will see more demand, and more differentiated demand.

More about hygiene as a market can be found  in the WOPCOM-article „Trend to Hygiene offers new market opportunities“.

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WOPCOM Blog: Calculation methodologies for textiles services, by Floris van Eekert

Complexity or flexibility?

In the market for textiles services we can find various calculation or offering methodologies. Especially in the market for workwear rental services we see a wide variety of offering methodologies.

This means in practice that, from a customer perspective but also from the supplier perspective, there is a complexity which is not always contributing to an optimal transparency and/or quality perception. It even can create misunderstandings with impact on margins related to the rental contract or invoice. The various offering methodologies are not specific for countries or product market combinations.

In the article an overview of the methodologies  which are used by workwear rental service companies and what could help to get a better overview and understanding of these offering/calculation models. The basic elements which are defining the cost level are:

  • Number of garments in circulation;
  • Number of washes;
  • Rental price and washing price;
  • Garment personalised or per size.

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WOPCOM Blog: Transparent rental work wear contract, by Floris van Eekert

When a customer has chosen for a workwear service system in most of the cases there is a formal rental contract (+ agreement with general terms & conditions) between the customer and the service supplier.

In the market in general we do see an increasing unclarity from a customers point of view regarding the understanding and transparency of this workwear rental contract.
This causes unsatisfied customers, poor experiences around workwear rental and finally a negative impact on the workwear rental industry. The rental contract it self is one of the key drivers of low scores when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys.

In the following we give an overview of, in our opinion, most relative subjects in the rental contract which should be clear for supplier and customer. Clear means in this case that the contract is reflecting in a transparent service level, clear (monthly) invoice and “no surprises” with the contract prolongation or ending. Supplier sales or customer service should be able to explain contract in an open, transparent way.

KEY ELEMENTS IN RENTAL TEXTILES CONTRACTS

  • Contract length
  • Termination notice
  • Early termination fee
  • Depreciation of garments
  • Replacement of garments
  • Residual contract value of garments – (take over rental garments)
  • Deduction & addition possibility
  • Price index
  • Additional fees

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WOPCOM Blog: Product Trends in Textile PPE, by Dr. Geert Böttger

In the advanced ppe markets we can clearly observe that the development has switched from a phase, where workers had to take what they get, if they worked at risky work places. Basically they had to adapt to a ppe workwear concept, which focussed on complying to safety norms. This time is over. Protection according to safety norms is the basis. Differentiation starts from that point and leads to an adaption of ppe workwear to more specific demands of users and buying companies.

Expectations in textile personal protective equipment (ppe) are increasing along the categories fullfilment of safety standards, comfort, styleprice, sustainability and industrial laundry properties. This leads to a couple of recent product trends, which need to be taken into account for a competitive ppe-range. Here are the most important trends:

  • Multi-Norm PPE
    Multi-norm ppe will be also in future a strong driving force in the market.Daily practicality of diverse work requirements and complex risks will further fuel the market.
  • Contemporary Style
    Workweear and ppe workwear are getting closer and may eventually merge in some markets. Thus also style requirements apply to ppe.
  • Correct Fit for Ladies
    The increasing number of women with ppe workwear necessities and also the need for more qualified workers in hazardous working places led to the development of female ppe workwear as a concept
  • Less weight
    Weight of the apparal textiles is a factor of comfort. Lighter ppe workwear gives more comfort than heavy workwear.
  • Moisture Management
    Especially with sweat loaded work or if work needs to be performed in strong heat, a good moisture management facilitates work and allows for better concentration and a better self-controlled performace.
  • Ergonomics
    A very imnportant feature is the support of typical movements and movement clusters by the ppe workwear.This trend will develop in future even stronger, because the number of elderly workers is increasing
  • Corporate Social Responsibitlity
    Ecologic and social responsibility is also in ppe of increasing importance. Reasons the rising sensitivity of wearers and buying companies, but also governmental regulatins and programms like on EU level REACH or „Circular Economy“. Cradle-to-cradle concepts are gaining ground.
  • Digital Connected PPE
    Equipment of ppe with sensors will allow for important and interesting safety features: identifying the location, analysing mobility, recording of vital parameters like heartbeat etc.

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This blog is based on an article of the author, which has been published in WRP 12/2018

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WOPCOM Blog: Professional Textile Cleaning, up to 3 times more environmental friendly compared to domestic laundry

Sustainability is a basic value for professional textile cleaning. In the past different projects are set up commissioned by NETEX partnering with CINET resulting in measures and work methodologies that can guarantee a safe, sustainable and environmental friendly professional textile cleaning operation. With the implementation of these “Best Parctices” the professional textile cleaning is a very sustainable industry.

Environmental impact analysis
To determine the environmental impact of state of the art dry cleaning operation according to the best practices, Dutch research institutes TKT and TNO executed several studies, commissioned by NETEX partnering with CINET [1, 2, 3]. A scientific study is performed by TKT and TNO on the environmental impact of domestic textile cleaning compared with professional textile cleaning [1, 2]. The most important result is that the environmental impact of professional textile cleaning is 2 to 3 times lower compared to the impact of the average domestic laundering, when best practices are applied.

Recently a review report is published on water and energy consumption of domestic laundry worldwide, by TKT and professor Stamminger of the Bonn University [3]. The data from this report is used to check and review the results of the environmental study as performed by TKT and TNO [1, 2, 4].

The environmental impact of domestic textile cleaning has been compared with professional textile cleaning on ten different aspects, amongst which exhaustion of resources, human toxicity, acidification and climate change. In the study, the following processes are compared:

  • Domestic laundering
  • Professional cleaning and drying with PERC
  • Professional cleaning and drying with HCS
  • Professional cleaning and drying with IPura HCS
  • Professional cleaning and drying with IPura Siloxan D5
  • Professional cleaning and drying with Siloxan D5
  • Professional cleaning and drying with Solvon K4
  • Professional cleaning and drying with Wet cleaning

The study is taking into account:

  • The environmental impact of used energy sources during cleaning and drying
  • The impact of the production of the used products and materials
  • The impact of the emissions during cleaning and drying (including waste water treatment)

What is excluded from the study is the possible pre- and after treatment of garments, the impact of the surrounding area on the process and the impact related to the production, maintenance and discharge of the equipment itself.

In this study, the method of shadow costs (expressed in euro’s) of every environmental effect is used to make them comparable. For this analysis, Simapro software and the Ecoinvent databases are used to determine the effect and express the environmental effects in euros. The results are shown in figure 1.

Figure 1: Environmental impact of professional textile cleaning compared with domestic laundering [2]

The environmental impact of domestic laundry is relatively strong influenced by the drying process used. When more laundry is dried in a dryer, the environmental impact will increase. Currently, on average, 46% of the domestic laundry in Western Europe is dried in a dryer. This percentage is increasing over the time. More and more households have a dryer at their disposal. From the household who own a dryer, the dryer is used in 72.5% of the cases to dry the textiles [2].

Energy and water use for domestic laundering in Europe 
The average data of energy use for washing and drying in several European countries are presented in figure 2.

Figure 2: average energy use domestic cleaning in kWh/kg, Netherlands [2] other [3]

There are significant differences in energy use for domestic cleaning between the different countries in Europe. The differences in the laundering energy consumption are mainly due to the higher washing temperatures in Scandinavia and East Europe compared to West Europe and especially South Europe [3]. The differences in the drying energy consumption are mainly due to the different drying processes applied. In South Europe the laundry is mainly drip or line dried outdoors. In West Europe and Scandinavia a dryer is much often used for drying the laundry [3]. In East Europe the use of a dryer is relatively low, the laundry is mainly line dried indoors in heated rooms. The heating of the rooms will lead to extra energy consumption for the drying process due to the extra energy that is required to evaporate the water. The water consumption in Europe is around 11-12.2 l/kg with a load of 3.7 kg. the water consumption is strongly depended on the machine load [3].

Innovations and sustainable developments
The following innovations have significantly contributed to the relative low environmental impact of professional textile cleaning:

  • Innovation of machine technology have reduced the consumption and emission of the solvents significantly. This resulted is a strong decease of the environmental impact of professional textile cleaning.
  • Innovation of cleaning processes have resulted in alternative technologies to clean the textiles. Developments of alternative solvents and professional wetcleaning have contributed to a lower environmental impact.
  • Additionally there is a synergy between dry cleaning and laundry due to the ability to reuse the cooling water of the dry cleaning equipment for the laundry process. This reduces the energy consumption and the environmental impact even further.

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WOPCOM blog: Recent changes in PPE regulation, by Dr. Geert Böttger

Recent Changes in PPE-Regulation

The PPE-EU-Regulation 425/2016 is effective since April 21st, 2018. It substitutes EU-Directive 89/686/EEC, and tightens the business with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) substantially. Many textile service companies still need clear information. Here is our brief.

The most important points:
(1) Direct law in EEC-member states
The new regulation is effective as direct national law in all EEC – member countries in order to harmonize health and safety requirements.
This change has been done, because the now repealed EU Directive 89/686/EEC needed to be transferred to the national laws. That process had caused – according to the EU – too many misunderstandings and too different national laws. EU wanted to achieve the same rules for production and distribution in the internal market.

(2) Effective for all economic operators dealing with PPE
The new regulation assigns to „all economic operators in the supply and distribution chain the  responsibility to take appropriate measures to ensure that they make available on the market only PPE which is in conformity with this regulation“ (§ 12 of introduction to 2016/425). This includes also
– online and distance selling
– new products, but also used PPE
– imported PPE from outside the EU
– textile service companies working with PPE.

(3) Obligation of Suppliers/Manufacturers
+ technical documentation, declaration of conformity, and the  information to whom the PPE has been distributed, need to be stored for 10 years
+ products have to be controlled (sample)
+ declaration of conformity needs to be tagged at PPE, or a download link has to be offered, which leads to the declaration for the product
+ all applied norms must be indicated exactly
+ all products have to have the producers or importer registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address
+ documentation of the complete value chain is mandatory to ensure traceability of PPE
+ an exact assessment of health and safety risks must be provided, which the PPE should protect for
+ Distributors and importers might be involved in market surveillance tasks carried out by the competent national authorities. They must provide all necessary information relating to the PPE concerned
+ if the PPE is not conform, the supplier has to inform market surveillance authorities and has to take appropriate actions

(4) Obligations of Trade and Textile Service Companies
Wholesalers, retailers and textile service companies need to involve themselves more under the directive
+ they need to check, if the producers or importers registered trade name or registered trade mark, the postal address and the CE mark are attached to the PPE
+ they have to check, if producer or importer have provided all necessary technical documents, manufacturers information and declaration of conformity. This check needs to be documented
+ Suppliers and buyers need to be known to help market surveillance authorities in case of need
+ all documents need to be stored for 10 years
+ in case of products, which are not conform, appropriate actions of correction need to be implemented and market authorities have to be informed

(5) Textile Services as Manufacturer
Basically Textile Services are viewed as distributors and providers of PPE. However, they adopt manufacturer – status and related obligations,
– if the economic operator places PPE on the market under his own name or trademark
– if the economic operator modifies a product in such a way that compliance with the requirements of this regulation may be affected. That can happen via repeated washing and refunctionalisation processes.
(6) Prolongued EC type-examination certificates
EC type-examination certificates based on the old 89/686/EEC remain valid until 21 April 2023 unless they expire before that date. Thus bottlenecks at certification bodies and time pressure in safety issues should be avoided.

Complete text in your language
If you want to study EU Regulation 2016/425 in your language, go to:
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32016R0425.

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WOPCOM Blog: Innovation in cleaning technology serving needs of tomorrow’s consumers, by Tim Maxwell, President of GreenEarth

It’s been said that ideas are the natural born enemy of the way things are. And of course, given that, it is the consumer who is the natural born beneficiary of ideas.

Consider the world in 1800. The population was 1 billion and Rev. Thomas Robert Malthus had just published an essay on the Principle of Population. In it he postulated that unchecked population growth is exponential while the growth of the food supply was expected to be arithmetic.

And of course, he was fairly accurate as it relates to the population growth. Our world’s population reached 2 billion in 1927, 6 billion in 1999, and currently in 2015 totals some 7.3 billion.

Each of those 7.3 billion people are consumers to some degree. And while there are various segments to the total consumer market, with some in the position to consume luxury products and others that are not so fortunate, all consumers are required to purchase food, clothing, and shelter, the basic necessities of life.

Rev. Malthus was concerned about whether or not the world’s food supply could provide the exponentially growing world’s population with an adequate amount of that necessity. But he certainly could have been equally concerned about the two other necessities, clothing and shelter, as well. For his same argument that the growth of the food supply was arithmetic could have also been applied to the growth of the world’s supply of clothing and shelter.

We are fortunate that 225 years later, after growing from the 1 billion people of Rev. Malthus’ time to the 7.3 billion people of today, most of the world’s population is able to procure food, clothing and shelter. And while there are unfortunately geographic pockets of poverty where that is not the case, the necessities of life are available from those who produce them in a high percentage of the cases.

How is that able to be done? How have the producers of food, clothing and shelter been able to grow the supply of these necessities at a rate equal to the exponential growth of the world’s population?

 

New ideas of serving the consumer

Clearly this could not have been done had the world stayed the way it was in 1800. During those 225 years, new ideas allowed innovations to be developed so that the producers could grow the supply faster than the way it was being done. And while these new ideas undoubtedly faced opposition from those who were doing it the “current way”, if the new way ultimately served the consumer, it prevailed.

Many of today’s new ideas revolve around serving the consumer both directly and indirectly.  For many of today’s new ideas not only enhance the efficiency of the production of the goods and services being provided, but they also do so in a way in which the sustainability of the earth’s resources are also enhanced. Given that the definition of sustainability is to act in a way that adds to rather than harms people, the planet, and the “profitability” of the effort, ideas which allow for the more effective production of goods and services while at the same time are truly sustainable allow exponential benefits. And in this way, really do serve the consumer directly and indirectly.

As it relates to the basic necessity of clothing, most of the new ideas over the years have focused on the garment manufacturing process. For some time, clothing retailers have considered the sourcing of their raw materials, the manufacturing of their garments, and the logistics of moving their stock to their retail outlets as their principle supply chain.

 

The life cycle of garments

However, in the last decade, garment retailers and garment manufacturers have begun to consider the Life Cycle Assessment of the garments they sell and are now considering the after care of their garments in that equation. Thus the end to end supply chain in the clothing industry has extended through both the way the garments are cleaned and the way the garment are disposed of.

As a result, all of us in the professional textile care industry are part of the clothing supply chain. And as such, all of us are fortunate to be able to positively impact one of the basic necessities of life by applying new ideas for both the processing that we are providing and the way we can do so in a more sustainable manner.

There is one basic premise that underlies “the way things are today” in today’s society with regard to the after care of garments. And that is “laundering a garment is automatically more cost efficient and more sustainable than dry cleaning a garment and thus is always the preferred method of care”. In some ways, this basic premise may be Malthusian in nature. For it makes some fundamental assumptions about washing with water versus washing with a chemical.

For instance, it assumes that water is readily available and is inexpensive. It assumes that washing garments in small quantities uses less energy than washing garments in large quantities. And it assumes that all chemicals used as a solvent are more dangerous to the environment than is water.

But what if there were a new idea — the idea that tomorrow’s consumers can be provided with clothing after care in a process that is not based on water but rather is based upon sustainable chemistry? What if the one basic premises that underlies “the way things are today” could be altered to serve the needs of the consumers of tomorrow?

How could it be altered? Consider the fundamental assumptions upon which this premise is based versus what is the case today:

  • In many geographies, water is not readily available and therefore is not inexpensive.
  • The energy per garment associated with washing garments in small quantities, including the energy of treating the down-the-drain water involved, exceeds the energy per garment associated with dry cleaning the garment in large quantities, including the energy of treating of the waste streams involved.
  • Washing with water includes washing with the detergents added. One chemical fluid has been demonstrated to be environmentally non-toxic when measured in the real world environment rather than estimated in computer models. This chemical solvent in the closed loop dry cleaning process is at least as safe for the environment as is water and is perhaps safer when considering the “down the drain” water/detergent effluent.

Liquid silicone as the alternative

In 1999, three dry cleaners searched for an alternative to perchloroethylene that could be incorporated into a process that was fully sustainable. After examining all of the then-available possibilities, they chose liquid silicone as the alternative based upon its chemical properties.  Thus began a 16 year effort to provide the after care industry with an alternative not only to perc, but to water as well.

As with all new ideas, those in the industry who were doing things in the same way as the prior generation fought the idea that the concept of sustainability, where less is more, should be adopted. Most suppliers to the industry were being paid based upon the amount of chemicals, filters, and the price/complexity of the machines they were selling to the industry. The salesmen for these suppliers were the gatekeepers of the “way things are” and fought against a licensing business model where using less of any of these items was being championed.

Over time, through the efforts of many of the early adopters of liquid silicone, there were many opportunities uncovered to enhance the dry cleaning process in a way that minimized the resources being consumed during the process and that took advantage of the chemical characteristics of the liquid silicone dry cleaning fluid. As a result, the sustainability of the process was continually refined and enhanced.

What were these enhancements that allow for optimized sustainability? Here are some of the primary ones that have been incorporated into the methodology being utilized:

  • As perc was de-emphasized in the industry, virtually all of the dry cleaning manufacturers elected to design and build “multi-solvent” dry cleaning machines. This allowed any of the alternative solvents to be used in the machine, allowed the machine manufacturer to zero in on one design thereby reducing their cost to manufacture and stock machines, and required that the machine be suitably complex to have each solvent operate properly within the machine.

However, this machine complexity adds to the cost of the machine when compared to a machine that is configured to operate with silicone only. For example, silicone has no odor; therefore all of the deodorizing features are unnecessary.

  • Liquid silicone is chemically inert. Rather than solubilizing impurities into itself, impurities are carried by the detergent and dry cleaning fluid to filtration. Thus, distillation and all of the costs associated with it (the still itself, the energy to run the still, the labor to operate the still, the costs to remedy improper still operation, etc.) might be eliminated.
  • The food industry uses bleaching clays as its filtering medium in many applications.  Because of its chemistry, liquid silicone can use similar clays as an effective filtering process thereby eliminating the costs associated with cartridge filtration and the environmental costs associated with their disposal.
  • The waste stream associated with clay filtration is powder rather than liquid and can be disposed of safely without hazardous waste hauling (independent laboratory testing confirms this). Thus the hauling and disposal costs and the environmental costs associated are greatly reduced.
  • Because of its non-reactivity in the atmosphere and therefore does not contribute to the formation of smog, liquid silicone has been designated as a non-Volatile Organic Compound by the U.S. Federal Environmental Protection Agency. This exemption is significant in that it eliminates the need for getting any permits in many locales when liquid silicone is used and at the same time enhances its sustainability profile. Although in Europe liquid silicone is considered a Volatile Organic Compound based on the evaporation properties.

As the issue of sustainability has become of more concern, and because of these sustainability advantages, many of society’s stakeholders associated with our industry have mandated or recommended the GreenEarth dry cleaning process. These stakeholders include landlords and property owners, garment manufacturers, garment retailers, financial institutions, and consumers.

If we as an industry are to survive into the next generation of consumers, we need to find ways to add value to our service offerings. Contrary to society’s current premise, there are significant sustainability advantages available to us that offer our industry the opportunity to add value and to introduce new service offerings that compete with and challenge today’s after care model.

 

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Read the PTC industry expert view of Peter N. M. Wennekes, President of CINET: Up to 50% PTC market growth in just 5-10 years!

The last couple of years CINET carried out a vast number of research studies. These studies covered PTC market assessments, business drivers, applied and scientific research on (new) technologies, innovation, legislation and bench mark studies. They involved all major PTC markets around the globe. The main results were laid down in documentation and publications in the series “The World of PTC”. The studies indicate an accelerated pace of PTC innovation and new applied technologies, resulting in a tremendous increase of market potential and opportunities. The future is not about decreasing markets but about grasping market opportunities, developing new innovative business models addressing current, but most of all new target groups and (potential) clients.

The Volume 5 edition presents the results of extensive market research on (the need for) new PTC business models. Increase market penetration in BtoB markets, address opportunities of implementing new technologies and above all, focus on massive consumer markets with mass customization business models. Today’s available processing and online communication technologies allow a strong decrease in cost price of many textile services, delivering higher quality products to personal needs. New generation consumers will open up exciting new business potentials, with a calculated turn over increase of up to 50% in the next 5 – 10 years.

We wish you all success in setting up new businesses, inspired by the showcases presented in this book. CINET will be glad to be of service whenever or where ever needed.

You can access all 555 articles (and still counting) as well as ordering your copy of the full World of PTC Book series by registering on WOPCOM!

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Scientific studies: Professional textile cleaning; up to 3 times more environmental friendly compared to domestic laundry

Sustainability is a basic value for professional textile cleaning. In the past different projects are set up commissioned by NETEX partnering with CINET resulting in measures and work methodologies that can guarantee a safe, sustainable and environmental friendly professional textile cleaning operation. With the implementation of these “Best Parctices” the professional textile cleaning is a very sustainable industry.

 

Environmental impact analysis

To determine the environmental impact of state of the art dry cleaning operation according to the best practices, Dutch research institutes TKT and TNO executed several studies, commissioned by NETEX partnering with CINET [1, 2, 3]. A scientific study is performed by TKT and TNO on the environmental impact of domestic textile cleaning compared with professional textile cleaning [1, 2]. The most important result is that the environmental impact of professional textile cleaning is 2 to 3 times lower compared to the impact of the average domestic laundering, when best practices are applied.

Recently a review report is published on water and energy consumption of domestic laundry worldwide, by TKT and professor Stamminger of the Bonn University [3]. The data from this report is used to check and review the results of the environmental study as performed by TKT and TNO [1, 2, 4].

The environmental impact of domestic textile cleaning has been compared with professional textile cleaning on ten different aspects, amongst which exhaustion of resources, human toxicity, acidification and climate change. In the study, the following processes are compared:

  • Domestic laundering
  • Professional cleaning and drying with PERC
  • Professional cleaning and drying with HCS
  • Professional cleaning and drying with IPura HCS
  • Professional cleaning and drying with IPura Siloxan D5
  • Professional cleaning and drying with Siloxan D5
  • Professional cleaning and drying with Solvon K4
  • Professional cleaning and drying with Wet cleaning

The study is taking into account:

  • The environmental impact of used energy sources during cleaning and drying
  • The impact of the production of the used products and materials
  • The impact of the emissions during cleaning and drying (including waste water treatment)

What is excluded from the study is the possible pre- and after treatment of garments, the impact of the surrounding area on the process and the impact related to the production, maintenance and discharge of the equipment itself.

In this study, the method of shadow costs (expressed in euro’s) of every environmental effect is used to make them comparable. For this analysis, Simapro software and the Ecoinvent databases are used to determine the effect and express the environmental effects in euros. The results are shown in figure 1.

Figure 1: Environmental impact of professional textile cleaning compared with domestic laundering [2]

The environmental impact of domestic laundry is relatively strong influenced by the drying process used. When more laundry is dried in a dryer, the environmental impact will increase. Currently, on average, 46% of the domestic laundry in Western Europe is dried in a dryer. This percentage is increasing over the time. More and more households have a dryer at their disposal. From the household who own a dryer, the dryer is used in 72.5% of the cases to dry the textiles [2].

 

Energy and water use for domestic laundering in Europe

The average data of energy use for washing and drying in several European countries are presented in figure 2.

Figure 2: average energy use domestic cleaning in kWh/kg, Netherlands [2] other [3]

There are significant differences in energy use for domestic cleaning between the different countries in Europe. The differences in the laundering energy consumption are mainly due to the higher washing temperatures in Scandinavia and East Europe compared to West Europe and especially South Europe [3]. The differences in the drying energy consumption are mainly due to the different drying processes applied. In South Europe the laundry is mainly drip or line dried outdoors. In West Europe and Scandinavia a dryer is much often used for drying the laundry [3]. In East Europe the use of a dryer is relatively low, the laundry is mainly line dried indoors in heated rooms. The heating of the rooms will lead to extra energy consumption for the drying process due to the extra energy that is required to evaporate the water. The water consumption in Europe is around 11-12.2 l/kg with a load of 3.7 kg. the water consumption is strongly depended on the machine load [3].

 

Innovations and sustainable developments

The following innovations have significantly contributed to the relative low environmental impact of professional textile cleaning:

  • Innovation of machine technology have reduced the consumption and emission of the solvents significantly. This resulted is a strong decease of the environmental impact of professional textile cleaning.
  • Innovation of cleaning processes have resulted in alternative technologies to clean the textiles. Developments of alternative solvents and professional wetcleaning have contributed to a lower environmental impact.
  • Additionally there is a synergy between dry cleaning and laundry due to the ability to reuse the cooling water of the dry cleaning equipment for the laundry process. This reduces the energy consumption and the environmental impact even further.
References
A.W. Wypkema, R. N. van Gijlswijk, Duurzaam reinigen. Vergelijkende analyse van de milieubelasting van textielreiniging bij huishoudens thuis en bij professionele reinigers, TNO-rapport, maart 2010
A.W. Wypkema, R. N. van Gijlswijk, Duurzaam reinigen II. Vergelijkende vervolganalyse van de milieubelasting van textielreiniging bij huishoudens thuis en bij professionele reinigers, TNO-rapport, april 2012
H. Gooijer, R.Stamminger, Sustainability of domestic laundering, 25-11-2015
H. Gooijer, Review Benchmark Sustainability Textile Cleaning 22-12-2015

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