Cambridge folk are setting aside a centuries-old rivalry to invite Oxwash – a sustainable washing company from ‘The Other Place’ - to do their dirty laundry! Such is the appetite for the planet-friendly service - which sees riders Jeremy and Toby zipping around Cambridge on electric cargo bikes, collecting and delivering laundry, leaving a plume of bubbles in their wake - that around 3,000 individual items are being cleaned per week here.
Founder Dr Kyle Grant jokes he is ‘proud to be serving the UK’s second-best university city’, but says he is impressed at how Cambridge’s ‘conscious consumers’ have embraced Oxwash.
A former NASA engineer, Kyle launched his start-up in 2017, whilst studying in Oxford. Tasked with washing his rugby team’s kit, the PhD student became frustrated at the perpetually broken washing machines at his college. So, spray-painting a Deliveroo backpack, he cycled around collecting washing, which he initially laundered at home. As demand grew, Kyle visited a commercial laundry, but was shocked by the harsh chemicals, pollution, and water waste.
Recognising an industry ripe for innovation, he utilised space-age technology to re-engineer the laundry process, creating his first water-efficient laundry or ‘lagoon’ in Oxford.
Expanding to Cambridge last July, Oxwash set up a lagoon in Barnwell, using fourth generation wet cleaning, which swaps carcinogenic solvents for biodegradable detergents and weighs items, using an algorithm to calculate the exact amount of water needed to remove stains and restore brightness.
The dynamic Cambridge team, led by Joe, remain busy with repeat orders from university colleges, businesses and individuals. The response has been ‘incredibly heartwarming’ says Kyle.
A nationwide expansion programme (followed by North America) is next on Oxwash’s agenda, with the goal to become the first sustainable, net-zero impact washing company in the world. With Kyle’s space-age ingenuity and eco-ambition, it’s a matter of when, not if!
Ronald Rolph Court
Tel: 01223 455189