Down and feather processor and supplier Downlite recently unveiled its new wastewater recovery system that allows Downlite to recycle and reuse up to 99% of the water used to clean and sanitize its down and feather fills – saving up to 40 million gallons of water annually, said the company. Downlite partnered with Ohio-based water-treatment specialists, Artesian Capital Partners (ACP), who designed and constructed the system, and now operates it off-site.
According to the company, waste water from the down processing machines travels through Downlite’s 65,000 square foot plant to the treatment system and into an aerobic basin to remove organic waste. The water then moves to membrane filtration to remove any remaining waste. The clean water is stored and sent through ozone disinfection before it goes back to the plant for reuse. The sludge recovered from filtration is gathered and composted.
“Water is the new oil,” said Josh Werthaiser, Downlite CFO. “With growing concerns over water scarcity and increasingly stringent municipal water-treatment requirements, we took on this significant and complex initiative, which took over a year, in our endeavor to become a greener company.”
Downlite’s down processing facility based just outside of Cincinnati, has the capacity to supply more than 100,000 lbs. of clean and ready down fill material per week, which requires a large quantity of water to ensure the raw materials have been sufficiently cleaned and sterilized.
“We use up to 120,000 gallons of water per day when our three giant washers are in use to ensure high-quality cleaning,” said Kevin Borgquist, Downlite Director of Processing/Sourcing. “Since the system was installed in October, we’ve saved about eight million gallons of water.”
Downlite’s wastewater recovery system is the latest in a series of ongoing environmental and sustainability initiatives, which include installing LED lighting in its plants and office buildings, adherence to bluesign certification and down traceability, and the development of TDS and RDS down standards.
“We are always looking at how we can minimize environmental impact, and what Downlite can do about it,” said Werthaiser.