Laundry water recycling in the global picture

There’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that the world is careening toward global water shortages in the near future, which is placing a sharper focus on the idea of laundry water recycling for commercial facilities. The prospect was hardly worth exploring a few years ago, when fresh water and sewer costs were low, but now, with the immediate threat of water cost increases, skyrocketing sewer surcharges, and federal budget cuts for municipal water treatment, commercial laundry operators are forced to examine new cost efficiency models.

Let’s review a few statistics, just to set the stage:

  • 36 states in the U.S. are predicting problematic water shortages in the next 10 years.
  • Developing countries are using increasing amounts of water as their economies mature and their standards of living improve. By 2030, China, India, South Africa and Brazil will use 40 percent of the world’s fresh water.
  • The World Bank recently identified water as the natural resource most likely to cause wars in the 21st century.
  • The world’s demand for water has increased three-fold over the past 50 years.

Commercial laundry operators and other businesses that use large amounts of fresh water are taking notice and looking for recycling options that will conserve water supplies and sustain profitability in the years to come. Companies like American Water Purification, Inc., (AWPI) are rising to the challenge. Soon, AWPI will unveil a prototype that significantly improves the financial landscape for commercial laundry operators–even at current water and sewer prices.

“Our laundry water recycling system will reclaim wash water that’s currently going down the drain,” said AWPI Engineer Jim Loewen. “It will filter it and return clear, fresh-smelling water to the front end of the process.”

The system also conserves water temperature during the recycling process, which will measurably reduce energy costs for commercial laundries.

“It’s an idea whose time has come,” said Loewen. “We’ve had success with similar systems for other industries, and it’s just a matter of adapting it to this application.”

AWPI plans to test its laundry water recycling system in partnership with a commercial laundry in Georgia, and financial projections indicate that many facilities will save enough money to recover installation costs in the first few months of operation.

Wynn Ponder is a freelance writer who covers industrial, science and marketing topics and owner of Wichita marketing firm Ponder:Connect.