A laundry service in Lackawanna County is getting recognition for being environmentally friendly when it comes to cleaning technology.
At the Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply facility in Jessup, workers process about 550,000 pounds of laundry per week.
Now Dempsey is being recognized as "Clean Green" certified by the Textile Rental Service Association, meaning the company's uniforms, sheets and more are cleaned in an eco-friendly way.
"We want to improve, first of all, our operational costs, and when you do that, you just keep reducing your Carbon footprint," said plant manager Mark Koval.
"Well by the nature of our business we`re green, reusable textiles versus disposable," said company president P.J. Dempsey.
P.J. Dempsey said industrial tunnel washers, with 16 compartments, reuse rinse water in the wash cycle.
"Just by reusing that water, we cut the water consumption in half. So instead of using 2.5 gallons of water per pound, we`re using about a little over a gallon. It adds up. Basically we`re saving 6-700,000 gallons of water a week," said Dempsey.
Technology also helps with drying time and energy savings.
"Instead of just setting the dryer for an amount of time that we’re certain would dry the wettest load, there’s infrared sensors that are in the dryers. They’re measuring the temperature of the work inside the dryer and once it senses the goods have peaked in temperature and that they’re dry, it starts to cool down. So instead of drying for 25 minutes, maybe it will be done in 14 or 16 minutes and we save all that natural gas and electricity," added Dempsey.
Dempsey said green measures also ensure fuel efficiency in the company's fleet.
"Our tractor trailers, we’ve recently installed trailer skirts and wheel covers and aerodynamic mud flaps to reduce the fuel there," he said.
Every day, Dempsey has 39 local delivery routes, but it also travels daily to Baltimore. To save money, the company built three special tractor trailers, which hold 60 percent more than its regular trailers.
"So instead of having to make two trips to Baltimore, Maryland, with a 400 mile round trip, we only have to make one," Dempsey said.
"Energy is a big, big number in our business anymore. With the cost of fuel going up, whether it’s natural gas to make hot water and steam, whether it’s fuel for vehicles, it’s a very, very staggering number when you look at it. If you don’t keep the cost down and keep driving it down, somebody’s going to pay for it and we just don’t want our customers to do that. We’d rather be as efficient as possible, keep our costs down," added Koval.
Dempsey replaced lighting in the plant with high-efficiency fixtures and uses sky lights to provide natural light, cutting down on the amount of artificial light needed.
The company also recycles hangers, cardboard and waste water from the plant.
"The care that we take not just in reducing water, gas and electricity, but also with our waste water, treating our waste water before it’s discharged from our operation so that we’re protecting the environment downstream as well," said Dempsey.
Dempsey will also complete water-saving projects at another plant in Sunbury in about two weeks. There are also facilities in Harrisburg and Baltimore.
The company serves 7,000 customers in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.