The laundry machine, in all its water-guzzling glory, has remained basically unchanged for the last 60 years. Until now. Xeros Bead Cleaning, a UK-based company that is currently expanding to North America, brings the first laundry technology innovation in a generation to provide an almost-waterless system that is environmentally friendly and cost-effective. The Xeros machine uses patented nylon polymer beads and a special detergent solution that attracts and absorbs dirt and stains to provide a superior clean that is gentler on clothes and our natural resources.
According to the company, the stats on this new technology are cause to get excited. Xeros reports that their system uses 90 percent less water than conventional machines and, if everyone converted, the world would save over 250 billion gallons of water every day. The system uses less chemical agents than traditional detergents and, because it washes on a much lower temperature, cuts energy consumption by 50 percent. Wondering if the production of tons of polymer beads will have an environmental impact of its own? Never fear! The beads can be used for hundreds of washes and are then recycled.
“The way we look at it is that Xeros borrows the beads from the polymer supply chain, puts them to good use in Xeros cleaning, and then puts them back without any incremental plastic production,” the company said in a press release.
The company stresses that their product is both environmentally responsible and good business. Xeros offers hotels and commercial launderers up to 50 percent savings in water and energy costs. The washing system also saves money by keeping clothes or linens looking new longer and, because clothes don’t have to be sorted by color, reduces labor costs. Businesses are also using this system to demonstrate their commitment to the environment to increasingly conscious consumers.
With a growing world population and concerns about our fresh water resources mounting, many see this as a welcome innovation. The Xeros system is based on thirty years of pioneering research by Professor Stephen Burkinshaw and has been recognized by TIME magazine and the World Wildlife Foundation for its massive potential to revolutionize this simple, everyday chore. Xeros’ polymer bead cleaning was also recognized as the “Best Technological Breakthrough” at the prestigious 2011 Climate Week Awards sponsored by the UK government.
The Xeros system has already crossed the pond and has been adopted by several laundry companies in the Northeast, with big plans for further expansion. The machines are currently only available to hotels and commercial launderers, but the company hopes to bring their revolutionary system to homes everywhere very soon. If you like the sound of conserving our natural resources, saving money and keeping your clothes fresh and clean, keep an eye out for the Xeros polymer beads rolling in near you.