Meet GBPAP2020 Sustainability Winner (RTC-A Cat.): Country Club Cleaners from USA

The Sustainability Award in the RTC-A (SME) Category at The Global Best Practices Awards 2020 was received by Country Club Cleaners from USA, for their efforts in minimising their environmental footprint, all while maintaining profitability.


Country Club Cleaners – Cleaners with a client-first approach

Located in San Ramon, California, Country Club Cleaners has a long tradition of being the leader in the East Bay. The business prides itself on continuing to innovate its business to better service our clients. The company believes in in delivering clean, and finished garments when the client wants them, doing all of this while continuously implementing new environmentally sound programs that express their values and care for the clients’ health, employees, and minimising their environmental footprint, all while maintaining profitability.

Country Club Cleaners employs over 55 staff members that it develops with a client-first approach to their service offerings and garment quality. To support this mission, the company has hired experts on both plant training, management, quality control and client services development. The company uses “secret shoppers” from ABC to ensure customer service and quality standards are being met. In addition to this, to guarantee quality control, the company’s enterprise software allows it to make all staff members accountable for production standards. Drivers, inventory personnel, spotters, pressers, assembler, and inspectors all work from computers and phones. Their tasks are recorded in real-time for managers to see. The company internally measures its re-do rates and team pieces per operated hour.

State-of-the-art equipment

Country Club Cleaners first implemented its environmental program in 1992, and through the years its has made impressive strides in reducing fuel consumption, recycling packaging, and reducing hazardous waste. The company is committed to finding ways in which to reduce hazardous and non-hazardous waste, increase investment in environmental technology. It strives to be a model for dry cleaners throughout the state for recycling and pollution prevention.

Sustainability through innovation

Some innovations made for sustainability include using LED lighting in the plant, the purchase of 4 electric vehicles, with 2 more budgeted for 2020, a grant award from the State of California to clean up PERC ground contamination from the previous owner of the production facility. Country Club’s laundry uses a tankless hot water system and the company has replaced its Cooling tower with a water-saving “chiller” to cool the DC machine.  Because it offers next-day delivery, the production facility operates at night when there is a dip in power use. Production is usually complete before demand is at its peak.

The company has been solar-powered at its main production facility since 2015. It uses a tankless hot water heater in the laundry processing and in 2019, Country Club Cleaners switched energy providers to a company that uses 100% renewable energy for all of its needs that go beyond what solar panels can provide. The company has also invested in reusable packaging for the textiles it cleans. Its  reusable bags last on average five years, and in doing so keep approximately 50-60 pounds of single-use plastic, from entering our environment during their life span. For every 1000 customers, the company says it is keeping about 10,000 – 12,000 pounds of single-use plastic from entering our environment.

To further reduce their waste, Country Club Cleaners uses a cationic detergent. This product significantly reduces still waste, usually by 30 to 50% while being a premium detergent on a very modest dosage. The company’s machines are well serviced with a clean still and the filters’ energy consumption is reduced and solvent mileage improved.

A solar-powered production facility


Reducing the use of water and electricity

Many garments are processed through wet cleaning products that meet stiff European regulations for waste treatment allowing them to be easily processed back into the water supply. Wet clean processing uses low water temperature cold or 80 F degrees, further lowering energy use. Wet cleaning uses the lowest water setting and is often just two baths that dramatically conserve water use.

For laundry, Country Club Cleaners uses low alkali detergents and surfactant-based degreasers that are environmentally friendly. The wash process is administered at a low water level to conserve water and improve mechanical action. In normal cases, one high-level rinse was removed from the process conserving an average of 43 gallons of water per wash load of this classification while also reducing time. Rinses are typically cold water ,reducing energy required to heat that water. The wet clean and laundry systems are on an automatic dosing system that carefully calibrates itself to ensure the exact amounts and no more are administered to each load classification. Dry cleaning waste is handled and removed by a licensed waste hauling company as per government standards. Contact water is processed in a third party water unit made by Galaxy Inc that allows for the external misting of the processed contact water.


The electrical fleet is ready to serve the customers


55 caring professionals

The company says it is the only on-demand retail dry cleaner with standard next-day delivery in the region. It offers its clients an on-demand route service through the website, texting or telephone order. Its main services include retail drycleaning, laundry, households and fire, water and mould restoration services, which captures about 33% of the company’s business.

With a team of over 55 caring professionals, Country Club prides itself in constantly seeking new technologies for our team to support our clients. The company is continuously adding new technologies on both the client’s support side, like for example the new SMRT POS and delivery tracking services to its current attempts to implement a production facility water recycling system.

Promotion is run through online reviews and reputation management, google ads, as well as printed advertisement, charity auctions and other local philanthropic efforts. According to manager Robert P Strong, the Country Club Cleaners brand represents a very professional and authentic experience for its clients that is combined with terrific garment care and deep consideration for the health and safety of humans and the environment.