In the eyes of the general public, chemical companies do not have the best reputation. They are often associated with water and air pollution, health risks via contact with products, danger of accidents in the factories, dumping of chemical waste… Even though the chemical industry has dramatically improved its environmental performance, the public’s perception goes back to the old days when there were much less rules, regulations and efforts to limit these risks. Christeyns is dedicated to turning this perception around and aims to be as green as (economically) possible. Natural green is as prominent a component of Christeyns’ company logo as is clean blue, representing purity. A permanent reminder that the company takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously, all the way from new product development to the packed end product, and not in the least at its customer’s premises.
It all starts with the CHEMICALS. Christeyns purchases its raw materials from carefully selected suppliers. For new products, its R&D team considers sustainability a key requirement in the selection of the ingredients, but the scientists also regularly evaluate the existing formulations and where possible, replace harmful raw materials by greener alternatives.
By formulating more concentrated products, substantial savings can be made on packaging waste and transport. In 2002, an average of 16 g of product per kg linen was dosed in industrial laundries, in 2018 this was only 8 g/kg linen, so a 50% reduction!
Christeyns also has an extensive range of ecological products. In just two years, its Ecolabel and Nordic Swan range has doubled in volume (+ 100%). This increase will certainly continue in the future.
All of the group’s fourteen PRODUCTION facilities aim to minimize emissions, effluents and waste caused by its operations and dispose of waste through safe and responsible methods.
Smart route planning allows Christeyns to organize its DELIVERIES as efficiently as possible, limiting the number of transports and fuel consumption. In 2015, a brand new high-tech European Distribution Centre was built in Ghent, opposite to the production site. The factory and the warehouse are linked via an automatic conveyer bridge. Finished products go straight from production to an elevator and further via a conveyor belt to the distribution centre. As a result, a number of satellite warehouses in Belgium, France and Germany could be eliminated, reducing transports with about 10 trucks a day.
Already in 2012 Christeyns has created its own Equipment Manufacturing company: Christeyns Engineering. This subsidiary has developed a full portfolio of high quality DOSING systems for washer extractors, tunnel washers or a combination of both. Whether for OPL or for bigger laundries, all systems focus on maximum reliability, safety and – above all – accuracy, as to avoid overdosing of the chemicals. The most recent innovations, launched at EXPOdetergo International in Milan, are the Flux-Box Plus and Flux-Compact 2.0, respectively a decentral and a central dosing system for washer extractors. Both systems have highly reliable membrane pumps, top quality seals and dosing adaptable to real weight.
In recent years, industrial laundries have made enormous progress in reducing water and energy consumption thanks to the introduction of sophisticated wash processes and water-and energy saving equipment.
Upon request, Christeyns’ water and energy specialists perform audits and give their customers personalised advice on process optimisation and reduction of water & energy consumption.
Christeyns introduced a whole range of heat exchangers in the laundry world. This allows the heat from the wash process (with Heat-X Rotor or Heat-X Energo), from the ironers or the finishing equipment (Heat-X Air range) +to be recovered and reused. The energy consumption in the wash process has dropped from an average of 0.6 kWh/kg in 2002 to 0.18 kWh/kg in 2018, a total saving of approximately 2 Terawatt hours per year during that 16-year period. With such energy savings, 83,000 households can heat for free for a whole year!
Over the past 15 years, Christeyns has also succeeded in reducing WATER consumption in tunnel washers from 10 litres to less than 3 litres of fresh water per kg of linen! Obviously depending on the type of linen and the pollution. This could be achieved by collecting, filtering and re-using part of the process water with its Lint-X filter systems, through innovations in the field of chemistry, by smartly dosing that chemistry, in short, by applying intelligent wash processes.
One of these next generation WASH PROCESSES is Cool Chemistry, a unique and patented laundry concept for industrial laundries that is already implemented in over 200 European laundries. Cool Chemistry is used to wash at a lower temperature, with less water, with neutral pH values (which is softer for the textile), and especially with innovative chemistry.
What is particularly special about this concept is the fact that the bleaching agent Cool Brite is made locally at the customer’s premises. The Cool Brite components are delivered to the customer in a concentrated form. In the Cool Box the correct ratio of the components is weighed, mixed with water and injected directly into the washing process. Cool Brite is now the largest product in the range of laundry products from Christeyns. By adding the water to the customer on the spot, a transport of 11,412 tons per year is avoided, equalling 571 trucks less per year. Add to that the energy savings that can be made thanks to washing at low temperature, and the prolongation of textile life thanks to the pH neutral process, and you can understand why this revolutionary concept is so environmentally friendly.
Also, when it comes to WASTE, Christeyns does not stand on the side-line and takes up its responsibility. According to an EU directive, it is the consumer who is responsible for empty packaging. Nevertheless, Christeyns organizes for its customers an extensive collection and cleaning service of the empty drums and IBCs, in more than 10 European countries: Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, UK and Ireland.
Every year 20,000 IBCs and 30,000 drums are reconditioned. For collection and reconditioning Christeyns works together with a specialized partner. UN- certified packaging material is normally valid for 5 years, but the company applies stricter standards and takes drums out of circulation after 4 years, IBCs are inspected after 2 years and recertified for a maximum of 2 more years.
Building further on its green ambitions, Christeyns has recently developed an app for the logistical organization of this waste collection. The app will officially be launched in spring 2019 and will allow laundries to request the collection of the drums via their smartphone.
From new product development to collecting the waste at the end of the cycle, CHRISTEYNS THINKS GREEN WITH GREAT CONVICTION
Detergo Magazine July/August 2019
by Marzio Nava