The Negative Environmental Impact of Washing Machines

By Sitex Corp   /    Sunday, April 1, 2018   /  

If your business is currently laundering its own uniforms and linens, you’re doing it all wrong. We’re not just a commercial laundry asking you to do business with us; we’re asking you to take a look at how your processes are affecting the planet.

We can talk to you about how taking care of your own uniforms and linens takes time away from your business, but an even more urgent matter is how detrimental your washing machines are to the environment.

In this blog post, we are going to discuss the environmental impact of washing machines to spread awareness that laundry is not just a quick process of throwing in the linens with detergent and pressing start. Each and every load of laundry your business does could have a negative impact on the environment.

Why be a contributor to environmental devastation when you can make small adjustments that will protect your home and future generations?

The Environmental Impact of Washing Machines

There are three big contributions washing machines make to harming keystone species, decreasing our available supply of resources and destructively altering the weather. When evaluating any aspect of your life or business, think about the valuable resources a product uses up and what that product puts out into the environment. While on-premise washing machines are intended for good use, they are something you should not be using in your facility at all.

Here are the three aspects of the environmental impact of washing machines:

1. Water pollution.

When you do a load of laundry, the water doesn’t simply disappear or soak entirely into your uniforms and linens. Each load produces wastewater that is pushed into the sewer system and is eventually discharged into waterways or the ocean. Even with treatment, certain pollutants like detergents and clothing fibers can still make it into bodies of water.

Every time you run that washing machine, you may be releasing over 700,000 microscopic plastic fibers into the environment. These come from synthetic clothing items that emit the fibers into the water when washed. These plastic fibers can poison or starve aquatic animals that accidentally ingest them.

If the detergents you use contain phosphates, this can also have a negative impact on aquatic animal populations. Phosphates that are disposed of into the water system can cause eutrophication, which is an excess of nutrients that causes superfluous plant growth and a lack of oxygen in the water, which kills aquatic animals.

Two issues arise from the environmental impacts of plastic fibers and detergents: a reduction in water quality and the potential of killing keystone aquatic species.

2. Water waste.

The fact that washing machines use a lot of water may not come as a surprise to you. But do you know exactly how much water your washing machine wastes? Depending on the type of washing machine you use, up to 40 gallons of water may be used per load of laundry. Once used for one load of laundry, any water that was not essentially absorbed into your uniforms or linens is considered wastewater and is flushed into the sewer system. And that’s how you get water pollution. But think about the amount of water that is getting flushed away.

While wasting water may not seem like a prominent issue in the U.S. right now, if we keep up this behavior the environment and humanity will face serious consequences. Keep in mind that of the water on Earth, less than 1% is available as fresh water. There are varying rates in freshwater replenishment and usage, and when these rates are too skewed, you find levels of water scarcity.

3. Energy consumption.

Because you don’t necessarily plug your washing machine and dryer into an outlet for each use, it may be easy to forget how much energy this machinery actually uses. The washing machine utilizes a significant amount of energy to heat up the water supply in order to wash the linens. The more water used per load, the more energy will be required to heat up excess water.

And this is not to mention the energy electric dryers use. One of the main problems with energy consumption is that often energy does not come from renewable resources and instead it comes from fossil fuels. When these fossil fuels are burned to produce that energy, they also produce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases which are released into the air. This can contribute to the global warming crisis, meaning sea level rise and dangerous weather changes.

Don’t let your business contribute to the major environmental issues we discussed – join us in protecting humanity and the environment! Help us lessen the negative environmental impact of washing machines. 

At SITEX, we provide linen rental and laundering services. When you decide to stop doing your own laundry and you partner with us, you decide to work with a company that has been awarded by the EPA for its green initiatives. We know the importance of laundry, but we also know the importance of keeping our planet safe. That’s why we use detergent and laundry chemical choices that are truly eco-friendly, use a significantly reduced amount of water per pound of textiles laundered and reduce our energy consumption.

Click here to learn more about what we do at SITEX to make our laundering operation eco-friendly and efficient!

Contact us today at 270-631-2231 to work with a company that cares not just about business, but about the health of the planet.