Yorkshire based company reinvents washing machine

January 28th, 2014 Category: Educational Establishments Office Cleaning

An environmentally friendly cleaning company based in Yorkshire has reinvented the washing machine – replacing the water with polymer beads.

Xeros, created by the University of Leeds School of Textiles, produces washing machines that could change the way we clean our clothes forever. 

The machines use polymer beads that are able to clean fabric by gently agitating stains and soil from the surface.

Washing machines vary in how much water they use per wash. When adjusted for capacity, some can use up to 20 litres per kilogram, while others use as little as six. Xeros aims to significantly reduce this.

In 2009, the company 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.

Results from the study suggested that if all UK households swapped their normal washing machine for the firm’s environmental friendly version it would save around seven million tonnes of water per week. This is equivalent to 5.6 million swimming pools per year!

In addition to this, the research suggests the UK’s carbon footprint would also be reduced by 22 per cent, which translates to 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 saved per year.

The polymer beads have a very long life, according to Xeros. They can be used hundreds of times before they need to be replaced and the beads never go down the drain. 

Even after they are replaced they don’t get thrown away as they can be re-used in other industries that work with the recycled material.

On the website, the company says: “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.”

Bill Westwater, chief executive of Xeros, told the Yorkshire Post that his company is manufacturing and marketing the first genuine innovation in laundering for 60 years.