Sustainability performance of table linen as compared to disposables


This new report was developed by the Swedish Textile Service Association in partnership with the TSA and other NA’s including the European Textile Services Association (ETSA), the Belgian Association for Textile Care (FBT), and TRSA USA. The report examines published literature on hygienic and sustainability performance of reusable textile-based table linens and the single-use disposable table covering used in the service industry (largely hotels and restaurants). 



Summary from Report

The report examines the performance of two alternative types of table linen used in hotels and restaurants: textiles (product-as-service through professional textile services) and disposable paper products.

The investigation focuses on hygienic standards in cleaned and ironed linen, as well as the environmental performance and economic contribution to the society/creation of jobs, as these represent a social, ecologic and economic dimension which are the three pillars of sustainability. The report has an emphasis on four countries: UK, Belgium, Sweden and the US.

The present study shows that:

  • The hygiene performance of textile table linen is equal to disposable table linen. Consumers do not see textiles as a relevant path for contamination from COVID-19.
  • Using updated methods in the use of energy and water in washing of laundry decreases the climate impact from the use of textiles to only half of the impact generated by disposables.
  • Different from the linear business model of disposables, the circular business model is applied when textile table linen passes through a large number of washing cycles, jobs are created on a local scale. Each job created in textile service industry creates another 0.25 indirect and induced jobs.

To read and download the full report, please click on the following button: 

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