Green is the new white

GOING GREEN: The Spin Cycle laundry owner Michiko Mavunga gets down to business at her commercial laundromat’s Newton Park premises Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI
GOING GREEN: The Spin Cycle laundry owner Michiko Mavunga gets down to business at her commercial laundromat’s Newton Park premises
Picture: BRIAN WITBOOI

Clean sweep for eco-laundry

Port Elizabeth’s The Spin Cycle Laundry is hard at work not only making its customers’ whites whiter, but their whites greener too.

Aiming to make a clean sweep of the environmentally friendly laundry services market in Nelson Mandela Bay, 53-year-old banker turned-entrepreneur Michiko Mavunga intends making it as the Bay’s first “green” commercial laundry service, while saving the drought-hit metro thousands of litres of water every year.

The 4th Avenue, Newton Park laundry, which opened its water and energy-saving washing machine doors for business in January this year, has laid claim to being the city’s first and only commercial laundromat to have “gone green”.

Since opening, Mavunga has already secured her first major client – a Nelson Mandela Bay-based food producer which has hailed the laundromat’s green approach.

The company, through a range of marketing efforts, which include pamphlet drops and cold calling, is now seeking out more Bay clients.

Outlining the motivation behind her new enterprise, Mavunga revealed that following years spent in various management positions within the banking industry, she had sought out an unconventional business venture that would “uplift and bring change to the Bay’s business scene” and had eventually settled on a laundry service after she discovered that the metro’s laundry industry was not environmentally conscious.

“In the quest to find a business which would simultaneously create awareness on water and energy conservation, the green laundry concept was formed.

“Newton Park was selected as the location for the new business as it is an established business zone and it made sense to locate the service in the midst of recognised and acknowledged businesses.

“The area is also centrally located, from whichever way you look at it,” said the Lorraine resident.

To achieve her goals of reducing the impact her business has on the environment – through laundry detergents and energy usage – Mavunga has invested in both the appropriate products and the appropriate equipment.

“Our laundry service uses phosphate-free and hypo-allergenic products. We use biodegradable detergents which are made from pure, natural ingredients. These detergents are hypo-allergenic, which means they are also safer for clients with sensitive skin or ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. These detergents do not have any of the fillers most manufacturing companies use to bulk up their products,” Mavunga explained.

Mavunga said that by using a frontloader washing machine alone, her business would save about 24 500 litres of water per year because toploaders use twice as much water per load.

She said her laundromat also operated dryers which are equipped with moisture sensors.

“This automatically reduce the length of drying time as the machine shuts itself off when it senses the clothes are dry, reducing the amount of electricity used, while it simultaneously prevents over-drying and therefore reduces wear and tear on threads.”

“In addition”, said Mavunga, “our washing machines are self-heating and therefore we don’t use geysers to generate hot water.”

“Water is heated only when necessary and with its aqua mixer, it combines hot and cold water to achieve a precise temperature with the programmed water level, thereby saving energy and reducing washing time. This means that it consumes less natural resources and energy. Our equipment and products pollute less and have less impact in terms of CO2 emissions,” Mavunga said.

Mavunga pointed out that their green approach was not only good for the environment, but also made good business sense as their energy-efficient equipment and water savings significantly reduced the operating costs of the business.

Mavunga said her future goals included improving on her environmentally friendly operations and developing new, greener detergents.

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