Sustainability at CWS Hygiene

All hands to washrooms: CWS Hygiene’s sustainable solutions

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21 September 2022 Hygiene

Attractive, hygienic and sustainable: CWS hygiene solutions
Hygiene is an everyday issue and indispensable in the fight against pathogens and germs. The experts at CWS Hygiene offer not only individual solutions but also all-round hygiene concepts. These are doubly sustainable: both in the sense of avoiding the spread of pathogens and germs as well as in the fact that they save resources. Velina Allerkamp, Chief Divisional Officer CWS Hygiene, explains which factors are still relevant with regard to sustainability in an interview.

CWS Hygiene

Complete and high-quality solutions for washrooms, gastronomy, offices and public spaces are part of CWS Hygiene’s repertoire. The company has already been offering services spanning all aspects of hygiene for more than 60 years. All the associated products are offered in a rental service, which saves costs as well as maintenance, cleaning and logistics.

What does sustainability mean for CWS Hygiene?

The durability of the products, saving resources for the benefit of the environment and raising public awareness of hygiene are all important factors. As experts, we want to create a completely tailored concept with products and services suitable for the individual requirements of our customers. This allows us to act with precision and be anything but wasteful. For a washroom to be sustainable, we need to consider all parameters from the use of toilets up to the washing and drying of hands. In addition, raising awareness of hygiene is important to us – and that starts with our children. By teaching them in a fun way that washing their hands makes an essential contribution to good health, we can achieve a lot together. That is why we are also committed to this area in the long term and act ‘enkelfähig’, so to speak, in the interests of future generations.

How is a sustainable portfolio managed? What goals are pursued?

We pay particular attention to the requirements and wishes of our customers – there is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Raw materials prices are currently increasing exponentially. That concerns among other things the costs for the use of disposable paper towels and thus the costs incurred by customers. We actively offer a conversion of the quantity of paper used into cotton towel rolls and aim to highlight the more sustainable solution with cotton towels. These rolls can be washed and reused up to 100 times, plus our service means the customer has barely anything to take care of maintenance-wise. As such, the solution is sustainable both for the environment and our customers’ wallets. Raising awareness is also important: it is not unusual for us to hear from restaurant owners and caterers that dust control mats are purchased for a season and then disposed of. We can improve that together, as none of our dust control mats ends up in the rubbish after half a season. Our goal is clear: we want to close cycles, establish reusable and recyclable products as the norm and offer an all-inclusive solution for all hygiene requirements. We set great store by the shared economy.

How is sustainability coupled with economic success? What makes the business enkelfähig?

The optimisation of existing and development of new products and services are important levers. We have a group of sustainability experts among our ranks, who evaluate the existing products with the enkelfähig rating. This involves assessing each product individually on the basis of a range of factors. For example, an external packaging analysis of our CWS Air Bar, a fragrance dispenser, revealed that the cartridge can be well recycled. That is great news. In our recently launched new range of products CWS PureLine, we replaced the soap pouches with bottles and also had their recyclability assessed externally. They are well recyclable and thus no longer disposable items. Plus, everything we don’t need to dispose of is good for the environment and has benefits for all involved.

When we speak about decarbonisation and the reduction of emissions, what measures are being taken?

As regards our rental service, we pay attention to route optimisation and have already been using electric vehicles for a year now. The data and experiences gathered so far have been good. We also employ energy-saving and requirement-oriented processing methods in our laundries: for example, we have only been washing our dust control mats in Olching since 2017. These require less energy for washing, as the temperature can be kept lower. As a result, we have replaced the boiler with a combined heat and power plant. There is now hot water there for the washing process and the heating of the building generates additional electricity, which, in turn, can be supplied directly to our washing machines.
We are not resting on our laurels though: an LCA analysis is currently under way for the changeover to recycled soap bottles in order to reduce the carbon footprint and save even more resources. We are also working on a return programme so that fewer single-use bottles are used and we can also offer reusable solutions here.

When we speak about customers and their requirements, what points are relevant?

A washroom shouldn’t and nowadays mustn’t be dull and boring. Our customers want well designed solutions and an invisible service behind the scenes. In addition, there is increasing interest in environmental factors such as the carbon footprints of individual products. Demand for contactless operation has also increased, which is why we also offer a sensor-controlled Non-Touch version of most of our products. I am delighted that these issues are now also entering our daily business and that we can work on the most sustainable solutions together.

What are the next steps planned?

We will continue to work on saving our resources. The energy requirements of our laundries and logistics activities are also being continuously optimised. Furthermore, we aim to offer our customers great new and innovative products with sustainable features. For me personally, teaching hygiene in nurseries and schools should also be seen as a fundamental component of hygiene education and thus of the sustainable containment of germs and bacteria.

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.