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Making linen washing and distribution better for the environment

Mar 31, 2022

Categories: Linen Services, News

Over 29 million pounds of clean linen is distributed to over 160 Saskatchewan facilities every year. Every partner in the process works diligently to ensure all washing and distribution is as environmentally friendly as possible.

Laundry best practices

K-Bro Linen Systems Inc. cleans linens from over 160 Saskatchewan facilities at its centralized Regina laundry plant. On behalf of the Saskatchewan health system, the 3sHealth Provincial Linen Services team manages the health system linen contract with K-Bro. 

“K-Bro recognizes environmental protection as one of our guiding principles and a key component of sound business performance,” says Jackie Belanger, K-Bro Linen System’s General Manager. “We are committed to providing quality service in a manner that ensures a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and minimizes our potential impact on the environment.”

Belanger points to a few examples of best practices employed at the Regina facility: 

  • Heat recovery equipment that recovers heat produced from the facility’s water heating system. For example, heat exchangers are used on wastewater pipes to capture heat from expelled water. 
  • Water reuse technology that ensures water used in multiple parts of the washing process is reused, reclaimed, and recycled. 
  • Employing a direct-fired hot water heating system that does not use a boiler to create steam but rather uses direct heat to create on-demand hot water. 
  • Using energy efficient lighting and skylights to provide the facility’s lighting. 
  • Having third-party energy audits conducted every three years to see where energy can be saved. 

Since these millions of pounds of linen are cleaned at the same facility, they all equally benefit from these environmentally friendly measures, multiplying the sustainability effects. 

Next, the linens need to get to health-care employees and patients.

Sustainable transportation to Saskatchewan patients

These efforts are truly impressive as they ensure that the linens that Saskatchewan patients and health-care employees rely on are washed and delivered in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Jennifer Fetch, 3sHealth’s Director of Linen Services

Canada Cartage is the transportation and logistics company that delivers the linens to every corner of the province.

“We plan optimal delivery routes for every single delivery,” explains Cayle Vermeulen, Canada Cartage’s Director of Operations. “We work closely with K-Bro on a monthly basis to ensure current routes are as efficient and productive as possible. We also plan all new routes prior to implementation to travel the least amount of distance possible and to maximize fuel efficiency.”

Some of these routes cover great distances to get linens to employees and patients. Vermeulen explains that Canada Cartage also takes extra measures to make each route is as environmentally friendly as possible. Examples of these extra measures include: 

  • Upgrading vehicles every two years to use modern technology that reduces fuel consumption and maintenance costs. 
  • Selecting vehicles based on fuel economy and other customer requirements. 
  • Monitoring all fleet vehicles for idling percentages. 
  • Shutting down all fleet vehicles automatically after seven minutes of idle time to reduce unnecessary fuel usage. 
  • Setting a maximum speed of 105 km/h for trucks on the highway to reduce additional fuel usage at higher speeds. 

Jennifer Fetch, 3sHealth’s Director of Linen Services, says that “these efforts are truly impressive as they ensure that the linens that Saskatchewan patients and health-care employees rely on are washed and delivered in the most environmentally friendly way possible.”

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