US down and feather processor Downlite is to install a new wastewater recovery system which it says will enable it to recycle and reuse up to 99% of the water used to clean and sanitise its down and feather fills, and reduce annual water consumption by up to 54m gallons.

Downlite's down processing facility has the capacity to supply more than 50,000 lbs of clean and ready down fill material per week, which is used in products such as outdoor wear. A large quantity of water is required to ensure the raw materials have been sufficiently cleaned and sterilised.

The custom wastewater recovery system, which will return clean filtered water back into the wash process, was developed in partnership with water treatment specialist AOP-Trident. 

Construction will begin this autumn and the system is expected to be up and running by April 2016.

The new initiative follows Downlite's scrap recycling and LED light-saving programmes. Each year, the company recovers and recycles more than 95% of its internal fibre scrap into usable materials – equating to more than 1m pounds of material that would otherwise be lost to landfills.

Additionally, polyester batting and other quilted scrap waste is baled and sold to an outside source that regrinds the material to be used in other industrial end-use textiles.

Replacing traditional lighting fixtures with motion sensing, high efficiency LED lighting at two of Downlite’s US plants has reduced electricity use by more than 55%. Plans are now in place to upgrade another two of its processing facilities in 2016.