By Rachael Stewart
When someone says laundry, what comes to mind? Do you think of flat screen televisions, vending machines, free coffee and food, video games, a bird sanctuary, and a children’s’ play area?
For those who do their laundry at World’s Largest Laundromat in Berwyn, that is all a reality. If that were not enough, this laundromat has decided to take its service and customer satisfaction to the next level by focusing on going green, and I don’t mean like the Incredible Hulk.
Owner Tom Benson decided to make a change in how his laundromat was run in 2001 when the price of natural gas had drastically increased. Benson says that he wanted to find a more economical way to power the building so he turned to solar power. In 2001, he had 22 solar panels installed on the roof of the building to create energy. The business now has 36 solar panels installed working to heat the water for the wash cycles.
The green initiative doesn’t stop there. Benson has been working with a chemical company to develop a unique brand of soap for customers to use on their laundry loads: GIGI detergent. Customers bring in their own empty containers and purchase the soap by the ounce.
This reduces the need to produce new plastic bottles to hold the soap and allows customers a cheaper detergent alternative because they are only paying for the soap and not the packaging. GIGI detergent sells at 14 cents per ounce.
World’s Largest Laundromat customer Kevin Diaz says he recently learned of the positive environmental efforts of the business. He already liked the laundromat because its spaciousness and amenities.
“You can pay with cards here on some machines” he said.
The company uses a lighting system which uses mirrors to reflect light down into the building making it a brighter space and saving on the number of light-bulbs being used. It also uses larger machines with a stronger spin cycle to get the loads done faster, saving customers money and time and saving the company from using more energy.
And if your clothes are worn out, or if you are just tired of them, the World’s Largest Laundromat has a solution – a green one, of course.
It has teamed up with recycling company USAgain that reuses old clothes and textiles. People can drop off clothes into bins labeled with USAgain information and employees of the recycling company will come to pick up the bins full of clothes and take them to be recycled and turned into new products.
Benson says that customers like the “green” image and appreciate how the business respects people’s environment.