Circular business model builds the foundation

As our business model is based on circular economy, it is also our business interest to optimise the use of natural resources and avoid overproduction. While making efforts to take care of the environment with our resource-wise services, we are also improving our cost-efficiency.

To reduce overproduction we extend the lifetime of textiles and minimise the textiles in our stocks and customer inventories. By using durable materials and designing for circularity, we promote sustainable practices at the very beginning. Furthermore, by repairing and reusing our garments, we avoid millions of kilos of unnecessary textile production. We manufacture additional orders on demand in our own workwear manufacturing facilities, Prodems, which helps to eliminate the textile obsolete risk in our stocks. With the help of digital services, we can optimise the textiles needed by our customers.

To conserve natural resources, we optimise the use of water and energy in our laundries as well as our customer delivery loads and routes. Lower washing temperatures, shorter process times, and efficient energy use have improved energy-efficiency in our laundries in the past years. In the washing process, we utilise heat from wastewater to warm fresh water. And when textiles reach end of their life, we recycle them as new products, as raw material for different industries, or as fibers back to textile industry.


Our journey to carbon neutrality has started

During the past decades, we have taken strategic steps towards efficient use of resources so that textiles are designed and maintained with minimal burden to the environment. For example, during the past 30 years we have managed to halve the consumption of water and energy in our laundries per washed textile kilo. In the past few years, we have eliminated buffers in stocks through our own on-demand workwear manufacturing facilities Prodems. By investing in digital solutions, we can optimise the number of textiles needed by our customers. With these measures, we have managed to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% per washed textile kilo since 2004. During the next fifteen years we have decided to take an even bigger leap and reach net-zero carbon emissions on all the scopes.

Textile recycling %
liters of water used / textile kg
kwh of energy used/ textile kg
meters delivered/ textile kg

Environmental management and sustainable solutions of operations

We are following and compliant with ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management system. Based on the environmental management system, all our service centers have made their own environmental program and set their own targets besides textile waste for also water- energy- and detergent consumptions.

Caring for the planet means for us that we continuously keep in mind our environmental aspects and seek solutions for reducing their impacts. Lindström examines environmental aspects by group level but also separately in each service centre with a written document. The document is updated every second year at the minimum, or more often in case of remarkable changes in environmental effects.

In 2021, we recycled 36% of our textile waste and the goal for 2025 is 100%. The major challenge for reaching our goal is that the recycling market is still in its infancy in many of our countries of operation. Although we always try to find local recycling partners located near our business units, sometimes the closest partner with proper technology might be in the neighbouring countries especially when it comes to the products that are more challenging to recycle. Products that are made of 100% cotton with no zippers, buttons or other add-ons are the easiest to recycle. For example, we have already reached the recycling rate of 100% of hotel textiles, and almost 90% of our cotton towel rolls are recycled, whereas we still have great challenges finding partners to recycle mats and industrial wipers.

The biggest waste types from our operations in addition to textiles are sand, sludge, and hazardous waste. Sand and sludge come from mat washing and wastewater treatment. Hazardous waste comes from industrial wiper washes and wastewater treatment facilities.

Most of the energy consumed by laundries is used for heating the wash water and for drying and finishing textiles. Lower washing temperatures, shorter process times, and efficient energy use have improved energy-efficiency at laundries in past years. A process that consumes less water also uses less energy. In 2021, we used 1,02 kWh per washed textile kilo.

From wastewater, we utilize heat and use it for heating fresh water for the washing process. In some laundry’s dryers heat is also utilized.  Wastewater heat exchangers are added to all new laundries built and with enlargements projects or with machinery changes for old laundries.

To contribute to our net zero carbon target, we are planning to invest and pilot greener energy sources, for example, solar panels in our Hungarian workwear manufacturing facilities. We will also reduce energy consumption by utilising waste energy in production machinery. In 2021, Latvia and Finland started to use green electricity. As we have several service centers in Finland, green electricity already covers 36% of our group’s total electricity consumption.

Our new industrial wiper service laundry in Bradford in UK started its operations in the beginning of the year 2021. It has impacted our reduced water consumption with new water recycling and zero wastewater effluent technology. Group-wide water consumption reduced from 7.5 l/kg to 7.2 l /kg.

We are recycling the water in the washing process. Usually rinsing water is recovered back to washing and rinsing is always done with clean water. In some cases, rinsing water can be utilized in heavier soiled washing like from roll towels or work wears to mats washing.

All our wastewater is treated

All our wastewater is manually treated with filters for removing suspended solids, lint, and dirt included in it, before letting it to the municipal sewages. Some laundries also have bigger wastewater treatment facilities depending on the local requirements, then also heavy metals and other harmful substances are removed.

We have selected highly professional detergent suppliers for our partners who provide us with the latest technology and environmentally sustainable processes.  In each laundry, we have automatic dosing systems for washing detergents, which are safe for our employees. Our dosings are highly optimized which means we are not using too heavy dosing’s, and so there is not either any harmful residues left in the textiles after rinsing. Quality of washing and rinsing is guaranteed with automatic follow-up of the dosing system with regular process control measurements.

Our detergents are selected so that they are not harmful to the environment and humans. E.g. we are not using optical brighteners and we are trying to minimize chlorine consumption, which however are still needed for some cases of bleaching heavy stains. In 2021 our chlorine per washed textile kilo decreased from 0,90g/kg to 0,70g/kg.

Textiles washed in specialized laundries are transported by vehicles directly to customers or via distribution centres. Trunk and local delivery routes are continuously optimized. Transportation aims for full loads and the same vehicle is delivering clean textiles and picking up dirty ones. Optimally, the same vehicle delivers all required products at the same time. Lindström reports its outsourced delivery service mileage annually.

As our service centers outside Finland serve larger geographical areas, their delivery mileage per textile kilogram is higher than in Finland. Average delivery mileage of Finland reduced substantially being only 127 meters per textile kilogram, while other business units had a total average of 382 meters per textile kilogram in 2021. Average delivery mileage of the entire group increased a bit from the previous year, being now 261 meters per textile kilogram.

We are reporting our carbon dioxide emissions based on the scopes of Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In 2021, carbon dioxide emissions of our laundry service were 327 g/kg and our own workwear factories’ emissions were 321 g / produced piece. As our own garment manufacturing is still small part of our total emissions, total group wide emissions were 328 g per washed textile kilogram.