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A conversation with Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap

 

Contrary to popular belief, a mundane chore like laundry significantly impacts the environment. That’s why we need to go sustainable!

 

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Laundry
 
January 4, 2022
 
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A conversation with Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap
 

Tell us your thoughts on sustainability
The world is ,and has for some time now started to realise the harsh reality that if we as society, businesses and individuals do not take drastic measures, the consequences will be fatal. Sustainable measures and practices are no longer a nice-to-have, but a must.

Recycling and reusing in their current format alone are not sufficient methods of combating the issue; instead, we need to collectively take steps to consider and manage our usage and consumption. This includes improving waste collection and scaling up our recycling efforts, switching to recyclable plastics and eliminating unrecyclable materials from the supply chain.

At Laundryheap, innovation is at the heart of what we do. From the get-go, we have considered ways to ensure we are operating a business that keeps sustainability front and centre – through a lean supply chain, smart logistics, and a commitment to green cleaning techniques.

This is a journey we are on, and while we have not yet reached our final destination of where we want to get to, we have made some important strides in transforming how we as a business operate, to reduce our footprint on the environment.

Why is sustainability important in laundry?

Contrary to popular belief, a mundane chore like laundry significantly impacts the environment. Our clothes are mostly made of polyester, nylon and acrylic. When these materials are spun around in a washing machine, they release microplastics, and harmful chemicals end up in the ocean, threatening marine life; in fact, this accounts for as much as 35% of the primary plastic in our oceans. Domestic laundry can exacerbate this issue as many household washing machines don't have the appropriate filters to reduce microplastic output.

Therefore, there is a critical need for channelling sustainability in the industry, and as the world's largest on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning service, we are committed to reducing our plastic and carbon footprint through innovative solutions and saving our planet. 

What is the thought that led to your rebranding?

Every business has the power to build a greener world for its customers. We aim to streamline our efforts towards the above-mentioned measures such as sustainable route optimization, water filters and treatment, and maintaining sustainable temperatures for laundry and machines. 

While we are delighted with the growth of our business in the region we felt a disconnect between our brand and those who were using our services. 

You see, the old Laundryheap brand prioritized functionality, but we now want to increase our focus on creating a personal relationship with our customers. 

As the business grows in the region, I am proud to launch our new brand, reflecting our core beliefs that sustainability, purpose, and customers should be at the heart of every business.

How does your rebrand focus on sustainability and customer satisfaction?

We aim to eliminate the stress of doing laundry for our customers by providing everyone with a fast, trustworthy and around-the-clock laundry service, which allows them to focus more of their time and energy on doing things they love. We have also made changes to the app and website which makes the process of ordering and booking hassle-free and more efficient.

Around the same time of our rebranding, we also launched Laundryheap Linen (previously NestAngel), a B2B linen rental services by rebranding its specialised vertical as ‘Laundryheap Linen’ where we invested in a new 3,000 sq ft warehouse in Dubai. Laundryheap Linen holds a predominant focus on the hospitality sector, but also offers comprehensive linen services for serviced residences, hospitals and corporates, enabling them to focus on their core offering while we take care of providing hygienic linen and accessories promptly. 

Visually, we have stayed true to Laundryheap's roots, the logo is a modified version of the old one, embodying a sleeker and more human-centered look, achieved by creating softer edges to display an image of a freshly laundered shirt with a heart - highlighting the warmth of Laundryheap, whilst also showing the happiness we achieve by providing our customers with the quality laundry service they deserve.

What measures are you taking towards sustainability?

While we are cognizant that further studies are needed to prove the full effectiveness of commercial use of filtration systems, we are working towards reducing our impact through measures such as integrating microfibre capturing bags for synthetic items as a priority to further ensure we curb the plastic emissions of every wash.

Recently, we hit a huge milestone by being the first laundry provider in the region to introduce an electric bike initiative. The pilot e-bike inaugurated the streets of Dubai Downtown and Marina on 15 December 2021. The launch of the electric bike in the region comes from its strong success since Laundryheap’s introduction of the electric bikes in London. The initiative sees a positive sustainability impact as one bike could do 1000 deliveries covering 3000 km saving 300 litres of fuel in a month.

In addition, Laundryheap now washes clothes at 30C, as cooler cycles release fewer microfibers and save a significant amount of energy that would otherwise go towards heating water. Moreover, we use central boilers in order to avoid electrically heating every machine so heat can be controlled, and steam can be reused for dryers, dry cleaning, and ironing.  

Apart from embedding sustainability into the laundry process, we are also working to make delivery more sustainable. Being the only 24-hour laundry service in the region, we have a powerful logistics support team and state-of-the-art routing technology to optimize the sustainable route, enabling as many deliveries as possible in a one-way trip to curb carbon emissions and reduce fuel consumption. 

Finally, in line with UAE's commitment to becoming a plastic-free nation we have replaced our plastic delivery bags with cotton alternatives. 

What is the future of laundry look like (in terms of sustainability)

While it is every individual’s responsibility to adopt eco-friendly practices, companies – no matter how big or small – have a profound impact on the health of our environment, and the opportunity to put purpose and impact at the heart of how they operate. Here in the UAE, the government has outlined its support in policies such as ‘Single use plastic policy and the ‘UAE circular economy’ to advance sustainable development.

The starting point should be redesigning delivery and production models that minimise plastic usage and carbon emissions to make the supply chain more sustainable.

In addition, sustainability also revolves around meeting consumer needs; we are seeing a growing trend amongst consumers in the UAE who are keen to adopt sustainable practices – a 2021 report by Boston Consulting Group revealed that around that 65 per cent of UAE consumers have reaffirmed their preparedness to incorporate more sustainable actions into their daily lives. The laundry industry can lead that change in their respective markets by offering them access to eco-friendly materials and services. These include innovation in product offerings, more sustainable means of delivery and collection models, and the option to opt in and out of plastic usage, which in return can also attract and retain new customers.

We believe that in the long-term, laundry providers that decide to take measures and implement sustainable practices at their core will not only benefit the planet, but also increase their value chain efficiencies, save money, accelerate productivity, and ensure customer loyalty.