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Downlite Develops Wastewater Recovery System

Due to growing concerns over water scarcity, Downlite, America’s premiere manufacturer of down and feather bedding, is developing a wastewater recovery system, allowing it to recycle up to 99 percent of the water used to clean down and feather fills back into the wash process.

The company’s advanced down processing facility, which is located outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, has the capabilities to supply over 50,000 lbs. of clean down fill material each week. This requires a sizable amount of water to ensure the raw materials have been thoroughly sterilized.

“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 at Downlite, who is leading this initiative. “The system has the capacity to reduce Downlite’s annual water consumption by up to 54 million gallons.”

The company worked with water treatment specialist, AOP-TRIDENT to create the custom system. With construction beginning this fall, the system should be up and running by April 2016.

Downlite’s sustainability practices also include its scrap recycling and LED light-saving programs. Every year, the company recycles more than 95 percent of its internal fiber scrap into usable materials, totaling over 1 million pounds of material that would otherwise be land filled. Polyester batting and additional quilted scrap waste is baled and sold to another company that regrinds the material for use in other industrial end-use textiles. Downlite shreds trimmings from mattress pads as well, to be used in less expensive poly-pillows and dog beds.

At two of its U.S. plants, Downlite replaced traditional lighting fixtures with motion sensing, high efficiency LED lighting, which cut electricity use by more than 55 percent. The company plans to upgrade two additional processing facilities next year.