- Written by Staff
TRSA has launched its Hygienically Clean certification program to recognize textile services companies' commitment to cleanliness through third-party, quantified biological testing and inspection. The certification process eliminates subjectivity by verifying that textiles cleaned in these facilities meet hygiene standards appropriate for any type of business that uses garments, linens, towels, floor mats, mops and other professionally laundered items.
HYGIENICALLY CLEAN CERTIFICATIONS
A specific designation for laundries with medical work (Hygienically Clean – Healthcare) is available and another will soon be offered for those who serve restaurants and other businesses where food safety is paramount (Hygienically Clean – Food Service).
To attain a Hygienically Clean certification, a laundry must deploy best management practices (BMPs) and pass bacteriological testing and facility inspections. Tests use the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) 61 protocol:
- Allows a minimal amount of bacteria to remain after textiles are laundered
- Pass/fail criteria of less than or equal to 20 colony forming units (cfu)
A laundry is not required to use particular processes, chemicals or BMPs to achieve certification— whatever tactics management feels are necessary can be used to achieve TRSA’s Minimum Performance Specifications as measured by bacteriological testing. But BMPs must be documented in a written quality control manual.
“Managers in many types of workplaces are becoming more conscientious about the sanitation of their processes. They want to be more confident that they are taking every step possible to prevent human illness in their facilities and their customers’. TRSA’s Hygienically Clean certifications help achieve this objective by ensuring textile products laundered for businesses meet key disinfection criteria,” TRSA President & CEO Joseph Ricci said.
To approve laundries for Hygienically Clean certification, TRSA inspects them to review their documentation and observe their BMP deployment. After this initial on-site inspection, facilities are examined on a 3-year basis. Bacteriological testing begins with one evaluation in each of the first three months the laundry is certified, then one every six months.
TRSA’S CLEAN GREEN CERTIFICATION
TRSA also launched an international initiative in sustainability and environmental protection with the unveiling of the Clean Green certification program. It recognizes companies that meet TRSA requirements for achieving efficiencies in water and energy conservation and adopting best management practices for reusing, reclaiming and recycling resources.
The certification gives the industry’s business-to-business customers third-party verification that the uniforms, tablecloths, bed sheets, floor mats, towels and other reusable textiles they procure from Clean Green certified companies are laundered in an environmentally friendly manner.
“Contracting with a Clean Green laundry is a commitment to sustainability and statement of conscientiousness about natural resources, part of managing a supply chain with maximum environmental protection in mind,” noted Joseph Ricci, TRSA president and CEO. “More business owners and operators are modifying their production technologies, processes and work habits to improve efficiency and conserve supplies. Clean Green prompts them to consider how their choices of outsourced functions such as laundry affect their total environmental impact.”
Clean Green certified textile services operations meet quality standards for effectiveness in conserving resources, controlling sewer discharges and otherwise minimizing environmental impact. A business that uses uniforms, linens, floor mats and other reusable textiles laundered by a Clean Green facility can point to the certification as evidence that these were washed, dried and finished with techniques selected to maximize sustainability.
To obtain the certification, laundries must document their efficiencies in water and energy use and deploy best management practices (BMPs) such as:
- Recovering heat from drained hot water and heat dispersed from the process of warming water
- Recapturing drained water from rinses for reuse
- Using environmentally friendly detergents
- Removing solids and liquids from wastewater
- Solar energy and energy-efficient lighting
- Recycling programs
- Re-routing trucks to save vehicle fuel
- Spill prevention plans
- Preventive maintenance
How Laundries Earn This Certification
A laundry facility becomes Clean Green certified by meeting water and energy conservation standards and deploying best management practices (BMPs) described above. Operations that cannot meet the conservation standards may offset this by implementing more BMPs. Validating Adherence to Clean Green Standards
TRSA inspects laundry facilities seeking the certification and approves documentation of their water and energy use and BMP deployment through production reports they submit to auditors during the inspections. Laundries create these reports from their records on detergent use, what items they wash from each customers and the number of loads they run, among other sources. They are accredited for three years at a time.
The new certification requires a paper audit, followed by a plant inspection to verify the paperwork. Recertification takes place every three years with an inspection during this three-year period. A facility can be certified as Clean Green by following one of two paths:
- Perform listed BMPs and achieve water and energy use standards that are based on the size of a laundry, with 5 million lbs. of laundry production the cut-off for large and small plants.
- Perform an increased number of BMPs; water and energy standards don’t apply.
A company that produces more than 5 million lbs. of laundry annually can meet the program’s water standard by using 2.6 gallons per lb. or less. A company that produces 5 million lbs. or less each year must use 3.2 gallons per lb. or less to reach Clean Green’s water standard. The energy standards are: 3,000 Btu per lb. or less for a company that produces greater than 5 million lbs. of laundry, and 3,700 Btu per lb. or less for a company with 5 million lbs. or less annual output.
BMPs are split into two tiers of eco-friendly equipment or processes. Tier one includes five standards worth 20 points each and are considered more indicative of environmental stewardship. Examples include boiler heat recovery or direct-fired water heater, wastewater heat recovery, etc. The second tier includes 10 standards worth 10 points each. Tier two BMPs include energy efficient lighting or skylights and fleet vehicle route optimization, among others. All companies must achieve at least 60 points from tier one. If a company meets the water and energy standards, it must get an additional 40 BMP points from either tier one or tier two to achieve a total of 100; if a company doesn’t meet the water and energy standards, it can still get certified by reaching a total of 130 BMP points with 70 additional from either tier one or two.
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