Saving water, one bead at a time
Water is one of the most vital and precious natural resources on the planet. Every man, woman and child needs water to live, so conserving water is a critical step in ensuring the survival of humanity. At Xeros, we are dedicated to creating and promoting technologies that prevent water waste and help protect the environment. So, we started by re-examining the way we wash our clothes and created a new kind of commercial laundry system that dramatically reduces the need for water in the washing cycle.
The problem with traditional washing machines is that they still rely on using water as the core ingredient for the washing process. Many of the biggest washing machine manufacturers will often tout the “new and improved” efficiency of their hardware, but as long as water remains the core component of the washing process, then they will always need to use large volumes of this precious resource to get fabrics clean.
This is where the polymer beads used in the Xeros system come into play. By making these polymer beads the active cleaning medium in the washing process, a Xeros washing machine can drastically reduce the amount of water used per wash. Water is still a part of the process, but the amount of water used by a Xeros machine is miniscule when compared to a traditional commercial washing machine. You may hear Xeros’ system justifiably referred to as ‘the ultra-low water system’ or the ‘virtually waterless system’.
You might be asking yourself one important question: “by replacing water with polymer beads, am I conserving water at the cost of creating trash that needs to be disposed of?” It seems like an obvious concern for anyone who is looking to preserve the environment. However, it is a question that Xeros polymer beads are specifically designed to address.
To begin, Xeros polymer beads are designed to be long-lasting – they are typically used for hundreds of wash cycles before they ever need to be replaced. The machine itself re-collects the beads during every wash cycle so that they are ready to be reused over and over again. The design of the machine prevents beads from escaping or going into the drain accidentally.
In fact, the use of polymer beads significantly reduces your laundry operation’s carbon footprint and water depletion. How? The Xeros machine uses much less water and chemicals to clean fabric. Also, a Xeros machine gets fabrics at least as clean at considerably lower temperatures, reducing your energy use as well. Even after the beads are replaced, they do not go to landfill. Xeros beads are designed to be very readily recycled for use in other industries that make plastic-based products. This means that the Xeros polymer beads do not add to the pollution of the environment.
"Xeros commissioned Sustain Ltd to carry out an independent life cycle assessment (LCA) of its prototype, domestic washing machine compared to conventional technology."
"This study finds that over its full life the Xeros system provides reductions of 44% for carbon footprint, 36% for water depletion, 38% for particulate matter formation, and 44% for fossil resource depletion. The key driver of these savings is the fact that the Xeros machine uses significantly less electricity for operation to achieve parity cleaning performance with the conventional machine.
The Xeros life cycle savings in carbon footprint and water depletion* equate to over 700 kg CO2 eq of greenhouse gas emissions and 1.2 million litres of water. These are significant quantities. For example, the carbon saving is equivalent to the emissions caused by operating a 32” LED TV for 32,000 hours, while the water saving is equivalent to ten years’ worth of direct water use by an average UK household."
Sustain - January 2014
"The "water depletion" indicator of the life cycle impact assessment methodology "ReCiPe" is the total amount of fresh water (eg surface and ground water) withdrawn from the environment. Fres water withdrawal data has been collected and included in contemporary LCA databases for many years."
Sustain - January 2014