Cleaning laundry with polymer beads instead of traditional detergents has been embraced by some Hyatt and Hilton hotels. But the key to home usage is effective recapture of beads, which is, as yet, a wild card.
The commercial version of a new polymer bead washing system includes a "bead capture" system. Xeros notes that "millions" of the tiny beads are used in the wash process, but is not precise about what percentage of the beads are recapture after each cycle.
They're working on a home system, but before we can recommend it, we'd like to see third-party data about bead recapture. A system that puts more polymers into our water system would not necessarily be a more sustainable laundry option. We will update this page once data becomes available. If you want to make sure you are notified, sign up for our newsletter feed using the link at top of page.
"Federal data estimates that hotels and other hospitality businesses guzzle about 15 percent of the water used commercially (PDF) every year in the United States. The laundries they run to keep guest linens fresh are among the top three consumers — after private and public bathrooms and alongside landscape irrigation.
But an 11-year-old British-born technology firm called Xeros is helping early adopters wring millions of gallons out of water out of their operations — essentially by reverse-engineering and mimicking the fabric-dying process. Xeros machines have been shown to use far less water than conventional high-capacity washing machines — in some cases about a half-gallon per pound of fabric, compared with the more than three gallons per pound that traditional equipment can use, according to the company’s data."
Source (Full Text): Is this a greener approach to laundry? Ask Hilton and Hyatt | GreenBiz