Being Green Is Who We Are
“Going green” and sustainability are popular terms thrown around everywhere these days, but what does that really mean? For some people it’s eating organic, while others make sure to recycle and shun the use of plastic bags and straws.
At Gallagher Uniform, these aren’t buzzwords — it’s a way of doing business. And has been for five generations.
The “Green” Gallagher Difference
Fourth and fifth generations of Gallagher’s lead our company and continue the work to leave a legacy. As we approach Earth Day 2019, our commitment to sustainability in our processes, our work, and our leadership is stronger than ever. The company will continue for many generations yet to come, and we plan to leave the environment as intact as possible for them, and for you.
Uniform garments, shop towels and mats from our rental programs are used as long as possible — and then recycled or donated to Goodwill Industries of Central Michigan’s Heartland. Our uniform programs themselves are actually pretty eco-friendly, considering the consolidation and scale of garment cleaning we do. And, we literally keep garments in rotation until they can no longer be repaired, which is a good thing, but there’s more to Gallagher than just the garments we wear and wash.
Wire hangers and their re-use and recycling is one of our biggest day to day projects. We send out 75,000 garments a week on metal hangers, and we ask our customers to turn them back in. We bring them back on hanger racks, then sort through them to determine if they can be re-used. If we can’t reuse the hangers, they go to the scrap yard for recycling.
Leave the Uniform Laundry to Us!
To say we do a lot of laundry would be an understatement. We’re talking about upwards of 130,000 pounds every week. If you were doing that laundry at home in the average home washer, that would be more than 15,000 loads (a week)!
The economies of such massive equipment result in high efficiency and add sustainability by using 250 percent less water and 160 percent less energy per pound of laundry than consumers’ machines. – TRSA.org
Uniform programs mean that employees don’t have to do laundry, and they’re still doing good for the environment, saving energy and water!
As you can imagine, that means there’s a large amount of water, soil, and soap pumped through our facility on a weekly basis. That’s just one of the reasons we’re committed to constantly seeking new ways to protect our environment.
First of all, we’ve upgraded our detergents, degreasers and the base oils used to treat heavily soiled garments to biodegradable formulas. Thanks to our automated systems, we can ensure the mix and quantity of detergents used on each load are precise based on size, soil type, and more. Long story short, only the right amount of detergent is used to keep every garment looking its best. Plus, what we do use is environmentally friendly.
How We Reduce Our Environmental Impact
Speaking of automation, we run our operation as efficiently as possible and avoid using unnecessary resources in order to deliver the best service to you — our customers. Because we’re never satisfied with just “good enough,” we’re always implementing new ways to improve our efficiency and eco-friendliness, including:
- Hot water system: Completely computerized to optimize the creation and use of steam and hot water. Efficient heating and usage reduce energy requirements and waste.
- Chemical injection system: Optimizes the right amount of detergent is utilized in the wash cycle.
- Oil Skimmers: This does just what it sounds like — skims the oils from soiled garments out of our wastewater, with the oil then recycled by a local environmental services provider.
- Lint Shaker-Separator: The lint and suspended solids are separated from wastewater. After the oil and lint have been removed, the water is ready to be re-used.
- Heat Re-claim System: Here the heat from the wastewater is used to warm up fresh water for the next load, a process that drastically decreases energy use.
- Energy Efficient Water Softener: Not only are we using roughly 400 fewer pounds of salt every month, but it also uses less energy.
- LED Lighting: We’ve upgraded all our facility lighting to be LED, which results in increased energy and cost efficiency.
Living Green Every Day
At Gallagher Uniform, we do our part, and you can too. Uniform programs can ensure all your employees are wearing garments that are properly laundered in an environmentally friendly way. With less individual laundry being done at home, fewer chemicals are being used — a total win-win!
Our goal is to operate in a sustainable manner that will preserve the environment not just today, but for generations to come. We operate this way every day and continue to seek out even more advanced means for environmental stewardship and efficiency.