The educational conference was the largest ARTA has held and it aimed “to begin a dialogue within the industry on how we can best meet sustainability challenge and begin to take advantage of opportunities in 2010 and beyond,” said ARTA president, Steve Tinker of Gurtler Industries.

Delegates heard researchers present two new life cycle analyses, which both explained why reusable textiles have an environmental advantage over disposable single-use items.

Both studies show water usage as the area with the greatest environmental and human impacts, said Nancy Jenkins, executive director of ARTA. She pointed out that these analyses do not take into account the fact that the majority of laundries reuse and pre-treat water before returning it to their publicly-owned water treatment plants. She added: “We have an excellent opportunity to inform clients that we are guardians of water.”