The core of the Xeros proposition is that Xeros polymer beads
provide a superior cleaning medium to water. Water remains an
essential part of our process, but not in the same way as conventional washing where using plenty of water is unavoidable for an acceptable cleaning result. The established industry players have long understood the need for greater water efficiency, but they are boxed in by this limitation of conventional technology. You will always read of “new, improved” water efficiency and the established industry has the marketing budgets to make some of these ideas sound compelling. In the end, if it’s still conventional washing then it’s still about consuming large quantities of water.
The obvious next question is whether replacing water with Xeros polymer beads is a good thing for the environment. Is Xeros cleaning just moving the problem from using too much fresh water to using too much plastic (i.e. polymer)? That’s where the second part of our proposition becomes critical. Xeros beads can be used 100’s of times before they need to be replaced and they never go down the drain. Better still, after replacement, the used beads will never be thrown away, and can be re-used in other industries that already deal with recycled polymer. The way we look at it is that Xeros borrows the beads from the polymer supply chain, puts them to good use in Xeros cleaning, and then puts them back without any incremental plastic production.
Finally, Xeros cleaning is a route forward to provide environmental benefits beyond water saving. You reduce detergent chemistry and the associated environment damage of its effluent and carbon footprint. You clean at lower temperatures so reduce the carbon footprint of heating power consumption. And, of course, you reduce the carbon footprint associated with supplying fresh water.
Some Interesting Statistics
In 2009, Xeros commissioned URS, one of the world’s leading environmental consultancies, to carry out an independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the possible environment advantages if the world of conventional laundry converted to Xeros cleaning. Here are some of their findings
- If all UK households converted to Xeros cleaning, that would save approximately 7 million tonnes of water per week, equivalent to 5.6 million swimming pools per year. This excludes the reduction in “embedded water”, particularly water associated with the manufacture of detergent.
- Xeros generates a 22% net reduction in carbon foot print (excluding the fact that Xeros beads will be recycled). In the UK, that translates to 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 saved per year, the equivalent of taking 1.4 million cars off UK roads.
It’s by producing this kind of environment advantage that Xeros won the prestigious “Best Technological Breakthrough” category in 2011 Climate Week Awards, sponsored by the UK government. WWF also lists Xeros in its survey of global “Green Game-Changers”.
We will commission further LCA studies in the future and continue to update the website with useful fact and figures.
‘Balancing energy and water conservation while maintaining cleaning performance is the greatest challenge we face…ongoing standard enhancements will yield marginal savings’