Dorset based Barker, the largest domestic laundry in the UK and a leading specialists Dry Cleaner, is reflecting on its eco journey to date and achieving the ambitious targets set by the business.
Among the company’s eco initiatives are an investment in washing/water heating technology, a drive to remove single use plastic from packaging across the entire business and a project to reduce electricity via LED replacement of all lighting, an initiative that was completed earlier in 2020. The cost of these initiatives has meant an investment of over £100,000 over the last two years.
MD Matthew Barker said, “Three years ago at Barker we set ourselves the ambitious target of reducing our use of ‘single use’ plastic by 90%. We are extremely proud to say that we have achieved this ambition, particularly pleasing too as it’s been achieved despite the recent challenges of covid. We have converted almost 95% of our 2500 domestic laundry customers to long lasting laundry boxes which, whilst still plastic, have a 20- year life span.
“In our Dry Cleaning division we previously reported that we had trialled removing polythene packaging in one of our branches. This initiative proved hugely successful. We subsequently introduced re-useable garment covers in all our 4 stores and these are proving very popular with our customers, as well as looking extremely smart and professional and doing a great job of protecting clothing items.
“Whilst it’s recognised that we shall never lose plastic, as it’s probably one of the most effective wrappers ever invented, the way in which we use it and handle it will make all the difference to the future of our planet.
“We have always recognised how important it is to bring our team of 50 staff along with us on our eco journey – we carried out an internal initiative to hi light awareness of our environment and the impact and use of plastics within the business. As a result, everyone is much more conscious, educated, and most importantly motivated to help the business.
“At the end of 2019 we received a low carbon grant funding award of £25,000, allocated by Dorset Council’s ‘Low Carbon Dorset’ Programme and funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Our aim was to improve our energy efficiency, increase the use of renewable energy and aid the development of new low carbon products. The award allowed us to invest in various new equipment and laundry technology: 2 new washing machines, a boiler and a state-of-the-art water heating system.
“The new gas fired water heating system has enabled us to change from the steam method by which we previously heated water, thus reducing our use and reliance on fossil fuels by an impressive 50%. The investment in technology has also delivered a significant saving in terms of reducing carbon emissions (over 90 tonnes CO2e p.a.)
“We would also like to thank all of our customers for their support with our eco ambitions.
“The investment and commitment that the business has made is certainly the right course of action. We have further ideas and initiatives which we shall review over the coming months.”
Barker is a high-quality fabric care and manufacturing business specialising in the improvement of established markets, from laundry to shirt making. Fully traceable, ethically grown and woven cotton of the highest quality is used to manufacture its bed linen range whilst also being the global leader in the supply of starched dress wear to the legal profession and the film, TV and theatre industries. Their work can be seen in Downton Abbey, Poirot and Mr Selfridge, to name just a few. Barker are now the largest domestic laundry in the UK and a leading specialists Dry Cleaner, with a heritage dating back to 1861