Green Chemistry Challenge: 2019 Greener Reaction Conditions Award
WSI is being recognized for developing TRUpathTM, a successful alternative to traditional commercial laundering technologies that use harsh and harmful chemicals. TRUpathTM uses more biodegradable surfactants and eliminates phosphates from wash formulas.
Summary of Technology:
Commercial laundering traditionally has utilized harsh and harmful chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, sodium or potassium phosphates, and nonylphenol ethoxylate-based surfactants. Phosphates in detergents can lead to freshwater algal blooms that are toxic to other aquatic organisms and which deplete oxygen in waterways. Nonylphenols are endocrine disruptors that accumulate in sewage sludge, river sediments, and groundwater.
WSI’s TRUpathTM technology provides successful alternatives that overall are readily biodegradable and less toxic to the environment. TRUpathTM utilizes a nonylphenol ethoxylate-free detergent that substitutes more readily biodegradable, linear chain alcohol ethoxylates. TRUpathTM also utilizes an EDTA- and phosphate-free builder and an enzyme-based booster. Additionally, the TRUpathTM process works at colder temperatures than traditional laundry formulations, which reduces energy consumption and decreases cycle time, meaning fewer machine hours.
WSI’s TRUpathTM technology was commercialized in 2018. The use of this laundry system has displaced nearly 30 million pounds of nonylphenol ethoxylate-based detergents. Additionally, the TRUpathTM detergent has prevented the discharge of petroleum hydrocarbons into wastewater by approximately 200,000 lbs/yr and reduced overall laundry wastewater discharge by more than 1.3 million lbs/yr. Removing phosphates from the laundry builder has reduced phosphate discharge into the environment via wastewater by 1.5 million lbs/yr, and removing EDTA has reduced EDTA discharge by 104,000 lbs/yr. Additionally, annual use of natural gas is reduced nationwide by greater than 5.1 million therms, and 545 million gallons of water are saved annually.