As eco-friendly business practices sweep the nation, you might be wondering, “As a laundromat owner, how can I do my part to protect the environment?” While there are several common laundromat environmental issues – everything from wastewater to energy use – there are also plenty of strategies you can implement to go green. Start by identifying the most common environmental issues; then, use those issues to develop your laundromat’s eco-friendly game plan.
Laundromat Environmental Issues
First, let’s discuss the most common culprit: excessive energy use. Washers and dryers both use a significant amount of energy, which is largely due to water, heating, and power demands. However, there are several measures you can take as a business owner to reduce your energy use:
- Encourage customers not to use hot water: The U.S. Department of Energy reports that roughly 90 percent of a washing machine’s energy use goes toward heating the water. Encourage your customers to use water that is cold or warm – not hot. The Department of Energy reports that this practice reduces water consumption by half.
- Buy high-efficiency equipment: Prioritize buying high-efficiency washers for your laundromat. Although high-efficiency dryer technology has yet to be developed, you can purchase dryers with moisture sensors that stop the machine once clothing is dry.
Chemicals and Wastewater
Commercial laundromats use all kinds of chemicals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), certain detergents, colorant agents, and fabric softeners can pose significant environmental hazards. Think about it this way: The U.S. Department of Energy reports that United States laundromats discharge enough wastewater to fill 1,460 New Orleans Superdomes per day. When hazardous chemicals are released through all that wastewater, they can break down ecosystems and even cause cancer if ingested. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to provide the EPA’s certified Safer Choice products to protect your customers.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that the typical washing machine uses around 27 gallons of water per load and as much as 13,500 gallons of water per year. That’s as much water as the average human will consume during their lifetime – used by one washing machine! Fortunately, reducing your laundromat’s water use is as easy as purchasing energy-efficient washing machines, which cut water use nearly in half.
Other Ways Your Laundry Can Go Green
As natural resources become scarcer and scarcer, businesses like eco-friendly laundromats are taking off. Show your dedication to the environment by embracing these three easy eco-friendly ideas:
- Educate customers: While installing a home washer and dryer may save consumers some time, it’s actually the least eco-friendly option due to the extra energy used by each household. As a laundromat owner, you have the power to educate customers about the environmental impact of their laundry practices. Consider posting educational signage with energy-saving tips.
- Research grants: The EPA has committed to reducing the environmental concerns of laundries through its Design for the Environment program. Dig into this program, as well as possible grants, subsidies, and tax breaks for energy-efficient businesses, to save yourself a lot of money while also helping the environment.
- Think outside the box: There are lots of other small tweaks you can make to improve your business’s impact on the environment. For example, consider installing solar panels for more efficient power generation, as well as high-efficiency fluorescent lighting. Little changes like this can add up in a big way.
Although there are several laundromat environmental issues to keep in mind, there are also several easy fixes. Start by researching the EPA’s various small business initiatives, then see which eco-friendly practices make the most sense for your business.
Finally, be sure to check out Laundry Solutions Company, a full-service provider of premium vended, on-premises, and multi-housing commercial laundry equipment. Our leasing program provides no mileage fees, no service fees, and no parts fees. You will be able to use high-quality Speed Queen equipment while enjoying a flexible lease and predictable payments. To learn more about our products and services, please give us a call at 800-383-9274 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!