Healthcare laundries plan major sustainability push: ‘everybody does it, or it doesn’t work’

Initiative to cover everything from energy saving technology to creating a circular economy

The laundry industry is gearing up to implement a major sustainability drive, working in conjunction with specialist consultancy Grain Sustainability. The initiative was unveiled at the Textile Services Association (TSA) Spring Conference, where members enthusiastically bought into the concept.

With the button pushed, Grain is now undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the laundry industry through research, surveys and interviews, including its suppliers and its customers, with the aim of presenting TSA members with a series of objectives and an ambitious sustainability roadmap.

“We need to understand where we can improve,” says Shyju Skariah, director of programmes and projects at the TSA. In fact, the laundry industry already has an enviable record on sustainability. By its nature the service it provides is circular, since it is about reusing textiles and thus avoiding disposable products. In addition, the industry committed to making a 25% reduction in gas and electricity consumption between 2012 and 2021. “It was great to reach that target, but the hard work begins now,” says Skariah. “We need to look at new areas, such as investment in highly efficient industrial heat pump systems.”

A key area of sustainability will be an increased focus on circularity. “Each year UK industries, such as hospitality, healthcare and manufacturing, source 7,000 tonnes of textiles which are then cleaned and processed by commercial laundries,” says Skariah. “We know what happens at ‘end of life’ to less than half of this volume – not much of which goes for long life recycling. There is still a big gap when it comes to understanding the journey of our textile products. We need to make sure that most of the individual components of these 7,000 tonnes are being reused, recycled or turned into something productive. Cotton for example is an easily recyclable material, however separating zippers and reflective tapes from PPE garments is a much more demanding process. We cannot begin to make any lasting changes until everyone in the value chain is actively involved.”

Christoph Geppert heads the Grain team helping the TSA. “Circularity is more than tracking, reusing and recycling,” he says. “It means looking at the entire value chain, from growing the cotton and transport to optimising end of life solutions. We have to educate laundries, their suppliers and their customers to understand the complexity of textiles, to de-commoditise them. A single kilo of cotton textile can take thousands of litres of water to make. Meanwhile thousands of tonnes of cotton go to waste every year. That’s unsustainable.”

Commercial laundries won’t be able to realise the circularity vision on their own. Skariah says, “As an example, when sourcing textiles, their longevity and recyclability need to be key specification criteria. We all have to understand the process, and work with our customers and the textile supply chain. If we don’t cooperate, we won’t make it. “Everybody does it, or it doesn’t work.”

Working together with the TSA and its members, it will take Grain around six months to complete the initial assessment of the laundry industry, to structure the tailormade approach for the sustainability strategy and to prepare a detailed implementation plan. The implementation plan is laid out over the next years, defining short term, medium term and long term goals. “The sustainability plan will set us on the journey that will make a real difference,” says Skariah.

For more information on Grain Sustainability, click here.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either via email or phone: 


T +44 (0) 20 3151 5600

Global Brand Lindström Is Now Diversifying Into The Healthcare Sector To Combat HCAIs

18 July 2022

The importance of an effective, efficient commercial laundry service in the healthcare sector cannot be overlooked when it comes to managing productivity and infection control.

The UK Healthcare System

The UK is lucky enough to have a free publicly funded healthcare system the National Health System (NHS). This is funded by general taxation and around 18% of a citizen’s income tax goes towards healthcare. According to the World Health Organization, government funding covers 85% of healthcare expenditure in the UK. The remaining 15% is covered by the private sector.

In 2020, the total healthcare expenditure was £257.6 billion, equating to £3,840 per person. This equates to 12% of the overall gross domestic product (GDP). This makes the UK one of the largest spenders on healthcare in the EU/EEA/Switzerland in terms of GDP percentage. As of 1st May 2022, there have been 61,654,788 patients registered at GP practices in England. Furthermore, the UK also has a growing private healthcare sector that is still much smaller than the public sector.

The UK’s health care system is one of the most efficient in the world, according to a study of seven industrialised countries. The Commonwealth Fund report looked at five areas of performance – quality, efficiency, access to care, equity, and healthy lives. The Netherlands ranked first overall, closely followed by the UK and Australia. The UK performed well when it came to the quality of care and access to care. The UK also ranked first in efficiency, which was measured by examining total national spending on healthcare as a percentage, as well as the amount spent on healthcare administration and insurance.

To read the full article, please click here!

To find out more about Lindström, please visit

Independent newspaper supports TSA strategy on reusable PPE

It ‘ticked all the boxes’ – better for the UK, better for the environment – so why did the government award £hundreds of millions in contracts for single-use PPE instead?

Throughout the pandemic the TSA campaigned for the use of reusable PPE instead of disposable gowns. Now The Independent newspaper has taken up the cause, publishing an article on 11th July that underlines not only how much money could have been saved on PPE, but also how many workers could have been taken off furlough had the TSA’s advice been followed. In addition, it points out that reusable PPE has a much lower carbon footprint and would have been a far greener and sustainable option.

The TSA, the Textile Services Association, represents commercial laundries in the UK.

Under the headline, ‘Government ‘wasted’ more than £800million choosing single-use PPE over greener alternative,’ The Independent lambasts the decisions during the pandemic. It points out that analysis commissioned by the Cabinet Office itself underlined how much greener the multi-use alternative would have been. The analysis said that the carbon output associated with disposable gowns is 1,164 percent larger than a multi-use gown.

David Stevens, CEO of the TSA, is quoted in the article as saying, “Looking at the numbers, you can’t say this [multi-use PPE] wasn’t a much better solution. It’s half the money, a 1,000 percent less carbon footprint, [and it’s] much more robust. It’s all onshore, good for the UK, made in Britain. There’s not a box it doesn’t tick.”

Independent Image

The TSA took part in discussions with officials in the Cabinet Office, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Improvement. The Association understands the strategy was elevated to ministers, despite which it was never acted upon. The TSA says it suspects that the single-use gown strategy was adopted because it proved more lucrative for companies with personal links to the government. Comments on the Indie’s website suggest many people agree.

Read The Independent’s article here.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us either via email or phone: 


T +44 (0) 20 3151 5600

Laundry Cost Index: 2022/2023 FYQ1