The Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA) is pleased that the federal EPA has recognized the TRS industry's efforts to reduce its use of nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE).
EPA's announcement Wednesday signals the agency's confidence that the ongoing voluntary phase-out of this detergent ingredient reflects a substantial commitment by the industry to protect natural resources.
"This development reflects EPA's understanding that our industry inherently seeks to improve the quality of the environment," stated David Potack, chairman, TRSA Government Affairs Committee. "It is the very nature of our business to judiciously use water, energy, and chemistry to provide clean textile products to American industry."
In plans announced Wednesday for several industrial chemicals, EPA indicated it would not ban the industry's use of NPE, recognizing that TRSA members safely handle it.
Textile rental companies supply work uniforms, linens and towels, walk-off mats, wiping cloths, mops, and other products. These are provided on a rental basis with laundry pickup and delivery service to businesses. Through these business users of textile rental, the industry touches consumers in numerous walks of their lives, such as clothing provided to them at work, hospital and hotel bedding they sleep in, and clean floors they walk across in stores.
Since 1999, TRSA and EPA have documented the industry's steady decrease in its use of water, energy, and chemicals per pound of laundry washed. Also, TRSA has achieved Champion status in the EPA Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative.
"Phasing out NPE is the right thing to do," stated TRSA President Joseph Ricci, "but it will not be easy. Detergent formulations are tailored for use in laundering different textiles and soils. So there is no single solution to replacing NPE. And our industry must provide the cleanliness that our customers require to do their jobs for their customers."
Over the last five years, the industry's NPE use has declined by approximately 75 percent. The agreement with EPA calls for NPE's elimination from all liquid detergent formulations by December 31, 2013 and all powders one year later.