'Eco laundry vending machines': A step towards a greener future?

While many people are aware that the fashion sector is an industry with a huge environmental footprint, far fewer know about the harmful effect that washing and drying our clothes also has on the environment. A 2010 study by the Guardian showed that 2.4 kilograms of CO2 are released during a standard 40 degrees celcius washing machine cycle followed by a tumble dryer cycle. But what can be done to help the problem? Well, one UK company has attempted to tackle the issue head on - and their solution involves ‘eco-friendly laundry vending machines'.

VClean Life is a company in the process of rolling out 200 of their 100 percent green-cleaning vending machines - or ‘VDrops' - around the London Underground network. The concept of their "green-cleaning revolution” is simple: The customer drops their dirty laundry off at a VDrop and pays for the service through the app. Next, VClean Life’s fleet arrives, takes the laundry and cleans it with biodegradable detergent and conditioners. The customer then returns 24 hours later to collect their clothes, using a personalised QR code that they download through the app.

The idea is both eco-friendly and practical says Nick Harris, managing director and founder of VClean Life (pictured) in an interview with FashionUnited. “We are very focused on the environmental impact of the industry, and have sought all developments that can help with this," Harris said. "Our factory is the largest pure wet cleaning facility in Europe, and when installing it, we spent considerable time and focus on water reclaim and solar energy - our solar panels provide almost our entire electricity requirement. We also use no toxic solvents, all our soaps and conditioners are biodegradable, and our plastic covers are fully biodegradable.”

Harris hopes that this innovative method will shine a light on sustainability in an otherwise dated industry. "Unfortunately the dry cleaning industry is one that hasn’t seen much innovation and has very much been stuck in its old ways. We come from an entrepreneurial background, and as such, we’re always looking for ways to innovate,” Harris said.”


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