Laundry’s ‘Green’ Refit Conveys Sustainable Benefits

Investment in new green machinery and related initiatives is smoothing the way for Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services in terms of energy savings and water conservation.


As a company which is committed to improving its carbon footprint and reducing its impact on the environment, Johnsons Stalbrisge Linen Services is constantly seeking out new measures to help improve efficiency, save energy and reduce costs.


A major specialist supplier of bed linen, towels, table linen and chefs’ whites to the hospitality and foodservice sectors, the company’s laundry service is a key part of its offering. Following a recent initiative by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which invited the world’s biggest water-intensive organisations to become more ‘water-efficient’, there has been an inevitable ‘trickle down’ effect on smaller organisations like Stalbridge Linen. It too, is committed to improving the management of water supplies and to addressing the issues of water use throughout the operational side of its business.


Underlining the company’s on-going commitment to the environment and its waste reduction strategy, a two year, £1.3m investment package has been implemented at one of the company’s four UK laundries in Sturminster Newton, Dorset. The aim is to update equipment, improve efficiency, cut operating costs and improve the plant’s carbon footprint.


At Sturminster Newton, an average of 180,000 items are laundered each week. Flatware (table linen, napkins etc) accounts for roughly half of this, with the remainder comprising bed linen, towels and duvets, and chefs wear.


The investment package included a new, more efficient £35,000 boiler to provide steam for pressing, a heat exchanger which utilises the heat from otherwise waste water to heat incoming water, and a new 75kg batch washer which uses 50% less water than its predecessor.


In addition, a state of the art, high powered hydraulic press now squeezes more water than ever before out of the towels and so saves on energy for drying – currently estimated to be in the region of 10%.

An automated conveyor sorting system has also made a significant contribution to the plant’s overall improved efficiency as well as estimated savings of £27,000 in staff costs. It has improved efficiency hugely and in terms of increased production and cost savings, has paid for itself in little over a year.


The new conveyor replaced the time-consuming and energy-inefficient manual system, and now enables laundry to travel to the sorters quickly and efficiently in batches according to product type, size and colour. Before the new system was installed, the plant often needed to recruit additional – and expensive – temporary agency staff to help cope with seasonal surges in workload.


According to David Hill, sales and marketing director for Stalbridge Linen, the automated conveyor sorting system has brought many benefits, including reducing the need for manual handling at the sorting stage.


“The conveyor system has enabled us to increase productivity significantly, as it continually carries the laundry to the next stage of the process, it’s faster and it’s increased the hamper count per hour – the amount of loads per hour which enter the laundry process,” he adds.


Additional efficiency measures include an automated clean work rail system, which moves the laundry around the plant in large bags each weighing up to 120kg, on rails suspended from the ceiling. This system keeps the laundry off the floor and so eliminates the risk of it picking up additional contamination and concrete scuffs as it travels through the system. An additional automated picking system and the new four-station sheet feeder reduces tangling and has improved productivity massively from 1,700 pieces per day to 4,500, while a separate ‘small piece’ ironer processes in the region of 22,000 napkins and pillowcases per day, and folds them exactly as the customer requests.


”We’re delighted that the investment across all these areas at Sturminster has not only resulted in direct and ongoing cost and energy savings, but it has equipped us to provide a fast, high quality, efficient and flexible service for our customers,” adds David. “Automation has not only given us an immediate cost saving but has enabled us to significantly reduce our environmental impact – something which should be at the heart of every business strategy.”


Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services is a specialist provider of high quality linen, chefs’ wear and laundry services for the hospitality and catering industry. For further information about the range of products and services available call 01747 857609 or visit