In response to the growing concerns over water scarcity and the increasingly stringent municipal water treatment requirements, Downlite, a down and feather processor and supplier of responsibly-sourced performance fills to the outdoor, home furnishings and hospitality markets, is installing a new wastewater recovery system that will allow the company to recycle and reuse up to 99% of the water used to clean and sanitize its high-quality down and feather fills.
Downlite’s advanced down processing facility based just outside of Cincinnati, has the capacity to supply more than 50,000 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. The company has partnered with water treatment specialist, AOP-TRIDENT, to develop its custom wastewater recovery system, which will return clean, filtered water back into the wash process. Construction of Downlite’s wastewater recovery system will begin this fall and be up and running by April 2016.
“Our wastewater recovery system will collect all of the contaminated water discharged from the wash – filter and treat it – and then return it back into the system to be reused,” said Josh Werthaiser, CFO Downlite, who is spearheading this sustainability initiative. “The system has the capacity to reduce Downlite’s annual water consumption by up to 54 million gallons.”
Downlite’s wastewater recovery initiative follows its successful scrap recycling and LED light-saving programs. Each year, Downlite recovers and recycles more than 95% of its internal fiber scrap into usable materials – equating to more than 1 million pounds of material that would otherwise be lost to landfills, says the company. Additionally, polyester batting and other quilted scrap waste is baled and sold to an outside source that regrinds the material to be used in other industrial end-use textiles. The company also shreds trimmings from mattress pads to be used in less expensive poly-pillows and dog beds.
Replacing traditional lighting fixtures with motion sensing, high efficiency LED lighting at two of Downlite’s U.S. plants has reduced electricity use by more than 55 percent. Plans are now in place to upgrade another two of its processing facilities in 2016.