Reusable clothing in a rental service offers sustainable protection
Cleanroom clothing is subject to strict international regulations. There are also high requirements on the reprocessing methods employed in order to ensure compliance with them. For example, washing must be performed with freshly processed water, which has been filtered multiple times and prepared pure in our reprocessing plants. And there we already have one of the most important sustainability levers for CWS Cleanrooms: the day-to-day work in the laundry alongside the services themselves. An interview with Markus Schad, General Manager Cleanrooms.
CWS Cleanrooms is the first full-service provider to offer everything for cleanrooms from a single source: from customised solutions for clothing to cleaning, consumables and staff training right up to on-site services directly at the customer’s premises. As a complete solution provider, we employ comprehensive expert knowledge, many years of experience and great passion for our work to develop modular offerings and innovative concepts tailored to the different needs of our customers.
What does sustainability mean for CWS Cleanrooms?
One of our areas, the textile service, is already very sustainable. Our reusable cleanroom clothing can go through between 60 and 80 washing cycles before the garments need to be replaced. We also pay attention to energy-efficient new buildings for our laundries and assess existing buildings to see what modifications we can make to save energy, generate energy and improve the eco-balance.
Fundamentally speaking, sustainability is a very customer-specific issue in the cleanroom sector. Our customers from the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are subject among other things to the U.S. FDA regulations or, here in Europe, the GMP standards for the pharmaceutical or, for example, ISO standards for the chip industry. We must also comply with them – with each and every product and service and at all times. For this reason, our focus is on individual and close cooperation with our customers and the analysis of possible resource-saving measures.
How is a sustainable portfolio managed? What goals are pursued?
We have our sights set on two goals: on the one hand, we are increasingly integrating new sustainable products into our portfolio and, on the other, the focus in the textile business is on decarbonisation and the sustainable management of our laundries. Our greatest point of impact at present is in water use. Here, we are setting great store by the reduction of water quantities through the targeted use of detergents and the reuse of water. For example, the water used in the last washing procedure can be reprocessed and then used for the first washing procedure. At this point, it is important to remember that the water we use is cleaner than drinking water – it is practically free from hazardous substances and minerals, as it is standardised accordingly and has to be prepared in our plants.
How is sustainability coupled with economic success? What makes the business enkelfähig?
We work in close cooperation with our customers. There are certain workflows and products for each individual customer requiring processing in a correspondingly customised manner. For this reason, our success is closely linked to good customer relations. That also means that we need to ensure our own employees are happy first of all. Only a team with a positive mindset can serve our customers well. We achieve this through a range of training offerings – both for those working in administrative roles and also for our commercial workers. After all, it is our duty to listen to the customers, understand them and compile a customised concept accordingly.
When we speak about decarbonisation and the reduction of emissions, what measures are being taken?
Our laundries are becoming more sustainable. A new cleanroom laundry bringing together state-of-the-art technology and sustainability is currently under construction in Burghausen. We have received KfW 40 funding and will comply with the requirements of thermal insulation, energy generation and consumption. We will either employ the energy generated ourselves or feed it into the grid. There will also be a highly efficient heat pump in use. Two new cleanrooms complying with the latest standards will be constructed on the site measuring around 16,000 m2. The break areas and administrative areas will become meeting places in order to offer our 40–60 employees sufficient space alongside their work. We aim to complete the project in summer 2023.
When we speak about customers and their requirements, what points are relevant?
It is very customer specific. We do not deliver standard quantities, but rather exactly what the customer requests. One customer wants cleaning mops to be picked for their cleaning in batches of 5, the next wants 20 at once – we cater to these wishes and customise our workflows accordingly. As such, extensive briefings are essential. I assume that we will continue to enter into proactive, intensive and individual dialogue with our customers in order to be able to identify the most sustainable solution for their requirements together. We do not subscribe to the “one service fits all” mentality.
During the pandemic, the online training offers proved a particular success: customers continue to require training, which we can offer quickly and efficiently online via the Cleanroom Academy.
What are the next steps planned?
We will continue to work on improving our services. In the coming year, we will maintain our focus on the decarbonisation of our business and make further adjustments to our laundries. We are currently developing a concept for a climate-neutral laundry, in which we want to reduce the consumption of resources and keep our emissions as low as possible.
Thank you for the interview!
CWS Workwear supports the Sustainable Development Goals of "Responsible Consumption and Production", "Climate Action" and "Partnerships for the Goals".
Enkelfähig – tomorrow now
Here at CWS, we adopt an enkelfähig approach. As part of our parent company Haniel’s enkelfähig initiative, we contribute to a healthier and safer tomorrow with our circular business model.
At CWS, we integrate the enkelfähig concept into our overarching sustainability strategy Think Circular and create value for generations by coupling economic success and value-based action. For us, sustainability and profitability go hand in hand. We work in a way that is generation-friendly and thus enkelfähig.
For a healthier and safer tomorrow. Starting today.