Fewer Chemicals Mean More Green and More Clean Hotel Linens
By Joseph Ricci President & CEO, TRSA | May 08, 2016
"Going green" has been as much a regulatory mandate as a moral responsibility for many businesses. The commercial laundry industry, and by extension the hospitality industry has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet one critical environmental goal: eliminating the pollutant NPE, once a common component of laundry detergent, from the laundry process. Eliminating and improving laundry chemicals has many environmental benefits, and taking action in favor of the environment can boost the reputation of a hotel. In this article, Joseph Ricci, head of the TRSA commercial laundry association, explains the implications for the hospitality industry.
At a time when regulations are expanding and consumer attitudes are changing, a hotel laundry's use of chemicals can be a surprisingly important issue. Many in hospitality have felt pressure to adopt sustainable practices, and the industry's partners in laundry services have helped them reduce their impact on the environment. Changing the chemicals used in laundry and reducing the amount of chemicals used has been a big part of this process.
In 2009, after years of working in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment and raise commercial laundry industry standards on water conservation issues, TRSA and its members began the process of voluntarily phasing out the use of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in their industrial laundry detergents. December 31, 2014 was the deadline for the removal of NPEs from both liquid and powder industrial laundry detergents.
In April of that year, EPA Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe referred to the voluntary phasing out of NPEs as a remarkable accomplishment and an example of how the agency and TRSA are "developing a shared vision of where we need to go."
The phasing out of NPEs has spurred innovation and a heightened sensitivity to environmental concerns in commercial laundry services. What this meant to the commercial laundry industry's customers – in particular those in the hospitality sector – is that linens used in the hospitality marketplace would maintain high standards for cleanliness while also reducing their impact on the environment through commercial laundry wastewater. In essence, hotels could make environmental gains via their commercial laundries without sacrificing cleanliness or the guest experience.