Environmentally-friendly, acknowledged and award-winning – responsibility for the environment at MEWA
Environmental protection and conservation of resources have enjoyed a high priority at MEWA for more than 30 years. Our objective in the area of environmental protection is to be better than legislation requires. This applies for the production plants, as well as for the products and services themselves. One of our most important tasks is the continuous further development of environmental technology. For good reason, as early as 1997 we were the first company in our industry to be awarded the International Environmental Certificate in accordance with ISO 14001.
Our service is practiced environmental protection. Thanks to the reusable principle of MEWA textile management we avoid a lot of waste and conserve valuable resources. In the transport and storage of our products we also rely on textile laundry bags and durable containers.
Moreover, we also guarantee a responsible relationship with nature through environmentally friendly production processes, heat recovery, thermal utilisation of residual materials, wastewater treatment, raw material recycling and not least through sparing use of fresh water. Thus in the area of environmental protection we are always one step ahead and make an important contribution to preservation of the environment through resource conservation and waste minimisation.
Practiced environmental protection The MEWA reusable principle
Our cleaning cloths can be washed and reused up to 50 times. The "alternatives" to MEWA cleaning cloths are paper or textile wipes. But they are tossed into the trash bin after a single use.
Thank goodness for the MEWA reusable principle. Thanks to this principle a lot of waste can be saved.
But we also rely on reusable products, even for the transport and storage of cleaning cloths and work clothing: The clothing is delivered in textile laundry bags.
The durable MEWA Safety Container SaCon® was developed in-house especially for safe storage and transport of cleaning cloths. Here as well we make another contribution to waste minimisation.
Environmentally-conscious recycling Resource conservation
Resource conservation is an integral part of the MEWA environmental management system. Consequently, we have developed a special recycling system for rinsing and washing water: the cascade technology. With this technology wash water from the main wash cycle and the rinse cycle that can be reused, is filtered, treated, and reused in a cycle in several stages in the washing process.
This reduces water consumption by as much as 50 percent, compared with conventional processes. The minimised wastewater quantity offloads municipal water treatment plants, and ultimately it offloads bodies of water.
Environmentally friendly washing
MEWA has developed detergents in part by itself in order to make an economical, as well as ecological contribution, to environmental protection. The biodegradable detergents and auxiliary washing agents are adapted to the degree of contamination of the textiles through special dosing and control systems. Thus we only consume as much laundry detergent as necessary and get a clean result.
Compared with traditional washing procedures this means a burden on the environment that is reduced by as much as 85 percent.
Using energy wisely Heat recovery
MEWA implements multi-stage heat-recovery systems to sustainably reduce energy consumption. Through so-called heat exchangers, the energy from the washing and drying systems can be used to heat water and to heat the premises.
But that's not all: We make dirt into energy. We make dirt into energy. Through thermal utilization of washed-out pollutants – predominantly waste oils from cleaning cloths – we cover up to 80 percent of our energy requirements for dryer and washing lines in the processing of cleaning cloths. The boiler installations, necessary in this regard are equipped with high-temperature combustion chambers and flue gas scrubbers for environmental reasons. The exhaust air is only routed out after thorough cleansing. Through these measures MEWA saves approximately 7 million litres of fuel oil per year.
A purity level of 99.8 percent Wastewater treatment
Categorically, all MEWA washing operations throughout Europe are equipped with their own wastewater treatment plant. Thus we go far beyond the statutory guidelines and industry standards in our responsibility to protect bodies of water.
In the chemical-physical pre-treatment of wastewater dirt and pollutants are separated from the water to a great extent. In the biological purification stage bacteria decompose the dissolved dirt load. Thus MEWA achieves a purity of 99.8 percent in the wastewater treatment.
Raw material recycling at MEWA Recycle wisely
All MEWA cleaning cloths sustainably protect the environment, because they can be reused multiple times. But this alone does not suffice for MEWA. Environmental thinking starts with production of the cloths: More than 100 million cleaning cloths are produced each year in MEWA's own weaving mill in Immenhausen. In this process a large quantity of cotton lint occurs. State-of-the-art equipment suctions it up and collects it. It would be such a waste to dispose of all this lint. It is ideally suited for being further processed as insulating material for the automotive industry. Thus, each year approximately 72 tons of lint are recycled.
MEWA also shows its commitment to the environment through use of recycled thread in cleaning cloth production. For the MEWATEX® cleaning cloth the proportion of recycled material in the thread is approx. 2,000 tons a year; this is approx. 50 percent of the total volume.
But this is not enough. MEWA even ensures that the cardboard sleeves of the thread spools are reusable products – thus every year we save another approx. 21 tonnes of waste. And the shrink-wrapping of the thread pallets is reused as transport packaging of the cloths.