Outcomes & Initiatives
Since moving to the current location in St. Paul, HSCL laundry has reduced its use of water by 56%. By combining the three laundries and converting to tunnel style washers, the amount of water required to launder 1 pound of linen has been reduced from 2.26 gallons to 1 gallon, saving 41 Million gallons of water per year.
The detergent and fabric softener used by HSCL are formulations that are biodegradable and DfE compatible. DfE is the EPA’s “Design for the Environment” program that works with industry to improve the environmental friendliness of industry practices. In addition, the detergent was recently reformulated to contain no NPE’s, which will be regulated in the future. HSCL also uses a non-chlorine bleach that is safer for the environment and can clean at lower temperatures, providing energy savings. Most of HSCL’s chemicals are shipped in bulk trucks, saving on plastic barrels.
Several years ago, HSCL initiated a conversion of our lighting to high efficiency fluorescent technology. As a result HSCL saves an estimated $25,000-$30,000 annually.
Wastewater Heat Recovery
HSCL utilizes a wastewater heat recovery system that recovers the heat from the wastewater and transfers it to the fresh incoming water. The system raises the incoming water temperature by more than 70 degrees at a cost of only running one electrical pump. Current usage (in Therms per lb.) is less than 25% of the energy required prior to moving into the HSCL laundry facility in 2004, saving approximately 200,000 Therms annually.
The most effective environmental initiative in regard to laundry/linen is utilization conservation. In this area HSCL and its member hospitals have been very successful. Since 2010 HSCL and key hospital personnel have worked together to support initiatives that have saved more than 2 Million pounds, further reducing the necessary resources.
Reusable Pack Room
HSCL competes with disposable products used throughout our hospitals, including surgical packs used by operating rooms. HSCL offers a full line of reusable surgical gowns, drapes, and component packs that compete with disposable products, often providing savings to the facilities and taking disposable products out of the trash and bio waste stream.
HSCL recycles all of our plastic, including plastic bags used to transport soiled linen from the hospitals.
Reusing Linen & Cardboard
HSCL has a program set up to donate linen that is unusable by our hospitals because it is worn, stained, or torn. The rejected linen is donated to various organizations including rag companies, animal rescue groups, and a variety of charitable organizations. Donations are packed using cardboard boxes from deliveries, keeping the rejected linen and the cardboard boxes out of the landfills.
HSCL embraces a continuous improvement process and has practiced LEAN manufacturing since 2007. HSCL conducts 2 to 4 Rapid Process Improvement Weeks (RPIWs) per year with the laundry’s senior managers. LEAN projects have reduced HSCL operating costs by more than $1.5 Million per year and is one of the main reasons HSCL has not raised prices since 2004.