The good news is that some products with these certifications are designed to work in cold water, require less water during the cycle and shorten cycle times, says Steve Attman, vice president of Acme Paper & Supply Co., Savage, Maryland. In fact one product he’s familiar with uses cold water, is 100 percent biodegradable, uses 40 percent less water and works in 25 percent shorter cycle times.

“Saving water and energy can translate into a large savings, so then [changing out these products] becomes a financial discussion,” Ashkin says. “With some systems, you can get up to a 40 percent water savings. For a 150-room hotel, that translates into a $1,400 savings. And, by using cold water, they can reduce their energy consumption by up to 75 percent.”

It no longer costs more to go green, agrees Attman.

“There’s a cost to buy and a cost to use,” he says. “It’s important to help building owners understand what the cost to use will be. This is a win-win situation. You can bring in a product that’s sustainable that also saves them money.”

However, Petruzzi notes cold water cleaning may not be for everyone. In a hospital or nursing home setting, laundry may need to be washed in hot water to meet health codes and standards.

The good news, he says, is this is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Many institutional laundry care programs can buy into an entirely certified laundry care system. However, when they cannot — whatever their reasons — they can use part of the system.

“There’s a reason why the scope of the standard covers 22 different things,” says Petruzzi. “Consider the whitening agent used for fabrics. Some companies may still want to use bleach. That doesn’t mean they can’t switch to a greener fabric softener and neutralizer but still use bleach for whitening.” 

Ronnie Garrett is a freelance writer based in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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Distributors Can Help Clients' Laundry Programs Go Green