Cintas Sustainability Report: Energy Use From Laundry Halved
Innovations like heat-air reclamation helped the company with the reduction. Cintas laundry facilities now have heat re-claimers that capture about 95 percent of previously wasted heat from boilers, allowing the company to eliminate much of the energy formerly required to heat incoming water. Cintas has also reduced garment drying time by as much as 50 percent using moisture measurement methods, saving significant amounts of fossil fuel and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the report says.
The Cintas report does not detail over what time period the reductions were made or provide yearly figures for energy use in its laundry processes.
The company has more than 430 facilities around the world. In an average Cintas facility, about 25 percent of electricity usage comes from lighting. To save energy, the company is in the process of converting all facilities to energy-efficient lighting, the report says.
Cintas says it has partnered with the EPA on its Energy Star program, to take a more strategic approach to energy management. Cintas uses Advantage IQ software to gain real-time access to its energy consumption patterns.
The company has also implemented Advantage IQ’s greenhouse gas reporting tool, which tracks and benchmarks all significant carbon emission sources from Cintas facilities and vehicles. Advantage IQ is helping the company create an internal communications campaign to share best practices for sustainability across the organization – using the data from its products to gauge how efficiently each of its sites is consuming energy, the report says.
In 2012, Cintas, in conjunction with Washing Systems LLC, began a company-wide transition to a new, more environmentally friendly laundry detergent called Structure. The product uses components that are free of phosphates and ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid, which have been found in some instances to alter the oxygen and metal levels found naturally in the environment, according to the report. The components of Structure are completely biodegradable, and its main ingredient is made from renewable resources, Cintas says.
The report says that in fiscal 2012 Cintas recycled more than 310,000 tons of paper, saving the equivalent of eight million trees. Cintas reported a similar figure in April 2012.
The company’s paper recycling program recycles all the paper that Cintas shreds for its customers. The program saved more than 10 million BTUs in net energy, almost two billion pounds of CO2, 7.2 billion gallons of wastewater and around 626 million pounds of solid waste, Cintas says.
Neither the annual report or earlier press statement contain yearly figures for recycling, CO2 emissions, wastewater, waste or energy use.
The report also says that the company diverted over 15 million plastic water bottles from landfills in 2012 with development of uniforms using plastic in the fabric. One suit from the Regeneration Collection is made with about 25 two-liter plastic bottles. A similar figure to this one was also reported in April last year. Two Cintas Velocity Tunics use about five two-liter bottles.
A large majority of Cintas’ “eco garments” can be home laundered, eliminating the harsh chemicals used in the dry cleaning process, the report says.
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