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Energy & Environment

Workwear services: reducing the environmental burden through top-notch ecological solutions

By Anna Wegner, DBL Poznan Wynajem Odzieży Roboczej
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The Earth's natural resources are shrinking at an alarming rate.

Their quality is drastically dropping too. The topic of environmental protection has been important to society for years and has entered many areas of life. Sorting waste, hybrid cars and renewable energy sources are just some examples of activities in favour of nature. Protecting the environment is a complex concept, and if those steps are to bring about results – a holistic approach is required. At present, many companies carry out eco-friendly activities and operate in accordance with sustainable development policy. All of the activities undertaken are intended to reduce the environmental impact of businesses.

Supplying workers with workwear and then caring for the garments can have a significant impact on the environment. If the entrepreneur is also interested in taking advantage of green solutions – the option of hiring and servicing working clothes may prove to be an attractive solution. On the market there are companies which have been providing such services for years.

Workwear suppliers attach great importance to the origin of the fabrics used to sew clothes that they provide to their customers. The most popular materials used in the production of work clothes are cotton and polyester. The first one is comfortable to use, while the polyester is very durable. Unfortunately, it appears that the cotton used worldwide has little to do with environmentally friendly materials due to the nature of the crop, for instance. For this very reason, organic cotton certified with, among others, the Oeko-tex certificate issued by the Hohenstein Institute is used for the production of workwear.  This certificate ensures that fabrics are free from harmful substances at concentrations that could have a negative impact on human health.  Organic cotton cultivation uses natural and biodegradable plant protection preparations. Such cotton is hand-picked, cleaned and dyed with natural means which is definitely not the case for conventional cotton. Fertilisers and pesticides used in conventional cotton plantations have a degrading effect on the environment. Around 25% of the world's consumption of insecticides is used in the cultivation of non-organic cotton. And after while, pests attacking the plantations become immune to these solutions, so manufacturers are looking for new and stronger resources. Such treatments do not remain indifferent to the environment.

Clothes made of organic cotton are more durable than those of conventional one. Organic cotton fibres can be washed many times without any loss of quality, whereas those made of conventional cotton are more likely to be destroyed, and therefore they are thrown away more quickly which results in increased waste. Polyester is also used for the production of working clothes. Since this is a synthetic fibre, suppliers are paying special attention to recycle recycled materials such as plastic PET bottles which are used for the production of polyester fibres. This approach allows for the efficient use of thousands of tons of waste that would otherwise go straight to landfill.

After supplying workers with clothing, there remains the matter of taking proper care of it. Most often, employees take care of their own clothes by washing them in their own washing machines. Quite often, however, their clothing is contaminated with various types of grease, paints and other chemicals that can get into the environment hence using a professional laundry limits this risk to a minimum. A modern industrial laundry can control the pollution of sewage by using the latest technologies.

Only professional, high-quality detergents combined with suitable cleaning agents guarantee a high standard of cleanliness. Properly selected laundry technology allows you to quickly get rid of dirt that cannot be washed in a traditional washing machine.  Thanks to that, there is no need to repeat the laundry which, in turn, saves water consumption. All detergents used in industrial laundries must have product data sheets in accordance with EU requirements. The marketing authorisation for chemicals is governed by the Chemical Substances and Preparations Act of 11 January 2001 and the Regulation of 03.07.2002 (OJ 02.140.1171) which state that the fact sheets are the only necessary proof that the particular substances are allowed to circulate in Poland. And because Poland is in the EU, on the basis of Regulation (EC) No 648/2004, tests of chemical substances carried out in another member state by a competent authority are also valid in Poland and do not need to be repeated.

One of the most important actions undertaken for the environment is the recycling of water, which can be reused for the purpose of washing something else, for example, entrance mats. Moreover, there is recurring problem with the disposal of worn-out work clothes. Usually they are simply thrown out in the rubbish bins. Companies that provide garment services take on the responsibility of disposing of used clothes. The clothing received from the customer is passed for disposal. In addition, the company should have full documentation confirming the delivery of the waste for disposal. Some of them are recycled, so the raw material is reused for production of  industrial parts, among others.  Responsibility for natural resources is a chain of actions that aim to reduce a company's environmental impact. Using the services of suppliers that are familiar with sustainable development policy and environmental considerations significantly reduces a company's impact of on nature.

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