The Textiles Services Association (TSA) is partnering with the Professional Clothing Industry Association Worldwide (PCIAW) bringing together two bodies representing commercial laundry and textile rental businesses. The partnership aims to provide end-to-end support across the apparel manufacturers, distributors, and laundry industries.

The professional clothing industry has witnessed an exponential growth in single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) throughout the pandemic. For example, isolation gowns designed for single use was shown not to be a cost-effective solution and is detrimental to the textile industry’s sustainability goals.

David Stevens, CEO of the TSA said: “TSA is proud to partner with PCIAW. We have been lobbying the UK Government for the past nine months to incorporate reusable isolation gowns into its official PPE strategy. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have finally recognised the idea of reusable gowns in the PPE Strategy released in October, giving the industry and environment hope.

Both the PCIAW and TSA agree upon reusable isolation gowns being the way forward and that the economic and environmental cases are both strong. The TSA advises that reusable isolation gowns can be laundered up to 75 times. The DHSC admits the cost difference between single-use and reusable is ‘modest’ but as the reusable isolation gowns last up to 74 more times longer because they can be cleaned and reused, the preferred choice should be clear.

Yvette Ashby, CEO of PCIAW comments: “Sustainability lies at the heart of the professional clothing industry and in order to reach our carbon footprint targets by 2050, we must do everything we can to ensure that happens. As we all know, the textile industry is the second largest polluter after aviation.”    

While the TSA lobbies the UK Government to make the case for reusable isolation gowns, the products need to be manufactured to a high standard using the optimal materials and the correct stitching if the isolation gowns are going to withstand the expected 75 wash lifespan.

Ashby believes the joint network of trusted members can be called upon to offer their experience in manufacturing reusable isolation gowns with the full understanding of the commercial laundry operations to maximise the lifespan of the products and to the cost-effectiveness for health services in the UK and across the world.