Reclaiming Hotel Laundry Wastewater
Justin Deveau, Chris Dunn, Tim Ellsworth, Tyler Gibbs, and Alex Witkin
Water scarcity is a growing problem. In the US, drought-like conditions have become more severe in western and southern states such as California, Oregon, Nevada, and Texas. At the same time, water prices have become more expensive year after year. Within the hotel industry, laundry is the top contributor to water waste. With more than 85,000 hotels in the United States, imagine the impact that can be made to preserve water and save hotels money if there was a way to improve their water use?
The solution is Reclaim, which uses tangential flow filtration (TFF) technology to recycle greywater from laundry, resulting in up to 95% water reuse. Reclaim is the first to integrate TFF—already being used by pharmaceutical companies—into a filtration system. This technology’s hollow fiber structures allow for more efficient filtration and, most important, fewer filter changes compared to current filtration systems on the market. Reclaim’s product is easy to use and is affordable to operate and maintain. It also fits within the footprint of existing commercial laundry machine systems.
The Evolution of an Idea:
Our project evolved tremendously over two semesters, but our company’s mission didn’t. We were always focused on finding a solution that helped prevent water waste. Initially, we couldn’t figure out how our idea differed from others on the market, but then we shifted a bit in hopes of being successful in the market. We began researching water scarcity and seeing what industries and what parts of the country face it the most. We then narrowed in on hotel water use, then laundry greywater, and—with more research—we learned about the benefits of TFF, a different system from filtration, which is already on the market.
We had a great time presenting in front of the judges. They provided helpful insight about ways to move forward as a company as well as suggesting some markets to explore. They also were impressed with our go-to-market strategy and that our product focused on a market and environmental need. Ultimately, we decided not to continue with the idea after class ended, but we do see opportunities for this idea to work. Greywater recycling at hotels was just the beginning of what we had in mind for Reclaim and in our mission to see a world without water waste.