The Textile Services Association (TSA) and UKHospitality (UKH) are heralding the agreement reached by representatives of the hospitality and laundry industries at their latest roundtable event as an extremely important step as they seek to reduce the amount of single use plastic waste created during the servicing of hotel linens.

Currently, single use plastic wrapping is used by laundries when transporting clean bedroom linen back to hotels. This generates about 100 tonnes of plastic a week, which is equivalent to 300 tonnes of carbon throughout its lifecycle. As only 9% of plastic waste is currently recycled, removing this from the bedroom linen laundry chain would be a significant contribution towards increasing the sustainability of both laundry and hospitality industries.

The roundtable, which took place at the Crown Plaza NEC in Birmingham on 31 January, included representatives from some of the UK’s largest laundry companies and hotel groups, as well as the TSA and UKHospitality (UKH). They discussed the importance of reducing the reliance on single use plastics as part of UKH’s push towards removing it completely by 2030, and how each sector needs to work with the other in order to achieve this.

The discussion resulted in the hospitality industry agreeing to support the laundry industry’s work to remove single use plastic from the processing of bed linen.

This will require investment from laundries to bring in appropriate cages and washable cage liners that will replace the single-use plastic wrapping, in order to maintain the high standards of hygiene demanded. This process will undoubtedly take time to complete, which is why it is important that this initiative is driven by both industries as a whole.

“Removing single use plastic from the bed linen supply chain will play a key role in our Net Zero strategy,” said Tony Sophoclides, strategic affairs director for UKHospitality. “This meeting marks an important step on our journey to making the industry as sustainable as possible.”

David Stevens, CEO of the TSA, agreed, saying. “An agreement like this would never have been reached even three years ago,” he says. “This shows how much views have changed on the need for companies to take large scale action on environmental matters.  Now we are all walking the walk.”

With this agreement in place, the TSA said it will continue to expand efforts to support its members transitioning away from single use plastics as part of its on-going investment in developing sustainable solutions.