- Written by Nancy Jenkins
VON ORMY, Texas — Leave it to one of the industry’s largest players to institutionalize Green operations.ARAMARK recently built and opened a new 52,000-square-foot uniform services plant near San Antonio with environmental efficiency as its goal.
To wit, the new ARAMARK Uniform Services (AUS) plant is designed to annually save as much as: 32,000 gallons of fuel, 3 million gallons of water and 3 million cubic feet of natural gas. In addition, the plant plans to reduce hanger use by as much as 60 percent through its reclamation program.Focus on Green saves fuel, water, natural gas and hangers“ARAMARK is committed to operating environmentally friendly facilities,” says Doug Blevins, general manager of the Van Ormy plant in South Bexar County. “ARAMARK has always been a leader in developing or enhancing current facilities to be as efficient and green as possible. Many of our facilities have received recognition for environmental stewardship from local water companies.”
ARAMARK is a charter member of the Laundry Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP), the industry’s volunteer initiative to improve overall environmental performance.
According to Belvins, ARAMARK purchased the land to build a plant in Von Ormy about four years ago. The company had been serving the San Antonio market for more than 15 years from its Dallas plant. “We were trucking in uniforms every day,” he says. “Once capitol was approved, we started to build out the existing facility, which was a 50,000 square foot data storage warehouse.” Electric, pipe and ventilation systems were added, as well as room for a wastewater-treatment system and boiler room bringing the total square footage to 52,000. The plant officially opened in October 2008.BY THE NUMBERS
The new ARAMARK plant runs two shifts and employs 67. It is situated on 10 acres and built with capacity to process 400,000 pounds per week. The plant serves 4,000 customers and runs 18 routes, but has the capacity to run more than 40 routes in South/Central Texas.
The Von Ormy plant equipment includes: three 800lb. Jensen washers, two 450lb. Jensen washers, two 600lb. Challenge Dryers, two 2-Roll Jensen ironers and a Colmac 2-module steam tunnel. Ryco installed the rail system, the water system was installed by Ludell and there is a Cleaver Brooks boiler. ARAMARK created the wastewater treatment machinery. They reuse 30 percent of their wastewater and 70 percent is sent to the City of San Antonio.THE GREEN FACTS
The move to build the new plant was made for several reasons, including ARMARK’s commitment to maximize operational efficiencies. “A major factor in selecting the Von Ormy site was that it allows AUS to reduce the mileage necessary to transport laundry to and from the Dallas plant,” says Blevins. As a result, AUS will save at least 32,000 gallons of fuel each year.
The plant’s water reuse system reduces daily clean water consumption by 15 to 30 percent. This means the plant will save between 1.5 to 3 million gallons of water annually.
The plant’s heat reclamation system recovers and reuses heat from wastewater, thereby reducing the plant’s gas use by 25 percent. ARAMARK estimates the heat reclaimer will save the use of nearly 3 million cubic feet of natural gas per year.
In addition to significantly reducing utilities, AUS has also implemented a hanger reclamation program. The hanger program encourages customers to return wire hangers so they can be reused. ARAMARK estimated that demand for new hangers at its Von Ormy plant will be reduced by 40 to 60 percent, preventing up to 17,000 pounds of steel from being disposed of in local landfills.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE
According to Belvins, the most challenging aspect of getting the plant up and running was hiring and training 40 new people. “It’s the first time in my 10 years of working for ARAMARK that I have opened a plant with no existing work force,” says Belvins. He says it took some extra time to train new employees, but with several dozen existing ARAMARK employees and the ARAMARK training program, the new employees quickly acclimated to their work roles. The majority of the Van Ormy plant employees are Hispanic, so it helps that 80% of the management team is bilingual. ARAMARK training and internal communications are provided in Spanish, as well as six other languages.
“ARAMARK’s new energy-efficient plant represents a large capital investment to its customers and to the communities in Central/South Texas,” says Blevins. “We are committed to provide quality services in the most environmentally friendly way possible — today and in the future.”
Quick Rinse - News From Around The World
Gulf Coast Laundry Acquired by Swisher Hygine
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Swisher Hygiene Inc., a provider of hygiene and sanitation products and services, announced that it acquired Gulf Coast Laundry Services of Mississippi, LLC (“Gulf Coast Laundry Services”), a Mississippibased linen services company.
Gulf Coast Laundry Services provides linen rental and laundry services throughout southern Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, primarily to hotel, casino and resort customers. Concurrent with the acquisition, the founder of Gulf Coast Laundry Services, David Gross, will join Swisher Hygiene and contribute to the continued growth of its linen services business.
Total consideration paid by Swisher Hygiene in connection with the acquisition includes approximately $4.8 million in cash and the issuance of a convertible promissory note which may be converted into a maximum of 350,000 shares of Swisher Hygiene common stock subject to certain restrictions, including acceptance by the Toronto Stock Exchange.