Greener Uniforms and Linens: What materials are the most environmentally-friendly for hotel uniforms and linens? That's actually a difficult question to answer. Cotton, wool and polyester have very different impacts on land, energy use, water use and chemical emissions. A Union of Concerned Scientists report said that we should not sweat this choice, but do the best we can to minimize our total clothing and linen purchases.
While it's difficult to compare the environmental attributes of the material that comprises clothing and linens, we can look at other criteria. Organic cotton, for example, is a greener choice, since non-organic cotton is grown with more pesticides than any other crop. Organic cotton is expensive, however.
Clothes and linen that last longer, require less care, dry quickly, have recycled content or can be re-used by others (such as shelters) are greener choices, too.
Pineapple Hospitality's 100% recycled polyester table linens are a good example of product with some of these attributes. Pricing for these products can be found here.
The following article touts polyester made from recycled materials; and machine-washable tuxedos, because they avoid the need for dry cleaning*, which is often more chemically-intensive:
Hoteliers see green in 'green' tuxedos, tablecloths, Barbara De Lollis, USA Today, January 5.
Gerri Weiner will also shed light on greener apparel choices at Thursday's meeting.
[*Greener dry cleaning methods are becoming available. I hope to schedule a presentation on this subject later this year.]