Making a positive impact on environment and economy with circular economy
The majority of Empower’s personnel work in various industry positions where suitable workwear is an essential part of occupational safety. Clothes are regularly subject to heavy wear and tear even under challenging conditions. Therefore, the proper quality and finishing of the material are important as they affect performance and durability and extend the life cycle of the garment. Empower has been cooperating with Lindström for nearly a decade in workwear rental service and in the recent years the use of rental workwear has been optimized together in accordance with the circular economy model.
According to Petri Lehtinen, the category manager at Empower, the workwear rental service has several benefits for business.
– By actively examining every item of clothing, we have, over the past seven years, reduced the average number of rented workwear from 9.4 to 7.7 items per person, compared with 9-10 items per person in other companies in the same industry. The workwear service is flexible, as textiles can be taken back from Empower to Lindström and reused as needed by other Lindström customers. As a result, there are no unnecessary items at Empower’s warehouse and this, of course, delivers cost savings. By renting the workwear, we are also able to reduce emissions as the washing of the clothes is handled by Lindström, says Lehtinen.
According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for Circular Economy*, the fastest way to promote circular economy is to extend the life cycle of the textile by using it for as long as possible. Washing and caring of clothes significantly affects durability and the ability to use textiles for longer, which is a prerequisite for less waste. Lindström’s core expertise in the rental workwear business is to provide energy-efficiency during maintenance, as well as environmentally friendly laundry chemicals and waste water quality, which results in significantly smaller carbon dioxide emissions than washing textiles at home. At Empower, the calculated annual CO2 savings already amount to over 19,000 kilograms.
– In addition to workwear, we have also moved to utilize cloth towel rolls instead of paper towels whenever possible. By using 143 towel rolls in 2019, we avoided the creation of 47,190 pieces of paper towel waste, which is a huge amount, Lehtinen concludes.