Study: Fabric Care Programs Help Extend The Life Cycle Of Hotel Linen

Sealed Air’s Diversey Care division released an independent study by Metabolic to highlight the environmental impact of hotel linen. The executive summary also includes potential interventions for reducing water, energy, chemical and linen waste.

“A big challenge facing the hospitality industry is the pressure to reduce operational costs and invest in environmental efforts, and this study shows there is an opportunity to achieve both goals by better managing hotel linen,” said Hans de Ridder, Vice President Fabric Care & Laundry, Diversey Care. “At Diversey Care, we take a holistic approach to the linen life cycle, supporting customers with textile purchase, care and recycling.”

Metabolic’s analysis highlights large water demands and agri-chemicals used during the production and manufacturing of linen, and found that the energy demand during the use phase is eight times higher than in the production and manufacturing stage. During its last stages of life, 80 percent of textiles end up in landfill or are incinerated rather than recycled.

The study proposes multiple interventions across each stage of the linen life cycle:

 • At linen purchase: Linen made from 100 percent organic cotton that uses longer fibers is more durable, preferred by customers and can also be recycled 2-4 times on average, allowing for greater reuse at end of life. The study recommends sourcing cotton from areas with low water stress to reduce water use and using ozone to bleach textile during manufacturing rather than applying toxic chemicals. Diversey Care’s Linen Purchase Consultancy Services encourage hospitality customers to discuss environmental issues with their suppliers and help hotels find and purchase the best quality linen that last longer.

 • During use: Implementing a low temperature wash program can increase the lifespan of linen up to 40 percent, reduce rewash rates and resource consumption and improve productivity. Diversey Care’s Clax Advanced solution uses low temperatures to deliver high performance while its Clax Magic range makes stains disappear the first time.

 • End of life: When hotel linen reaches the end of its lifespan, it can be used as bedding for hostels, cleaning rags, or repurposed in the textile industry as pocket linings. Recycling organic cotton can potentially reduce 53 percent of GHG emissions, 20 percent of water use and 40 percent of overall land use. There is also an option for composting, contributing to on-site landscaping or nearby agricultural production. To help hotels recycle linen properly, programs such as Diversey Care’s Linens for Life initiative helps hotels set up a process with communities to re-use linen and explore other sustainable options.

“With the interventions proposed by the study, and help from Diversey Care, hotels can achieve tangible benefits such as cost savings as well as intangible benefits like improved guest satisfaction, a better sustainability profile and a stronger brand image,” added de Ridder.