Reducing our facility's carbon footprint is one of our top priorities at the San Diego Convention Center. One of the new ways we’re working toward achieving that goal is by using environmentally-friendly laundering and dry cleaning services for all of our employee uniforms.
The Convention Center has almost 300 employees who wear uniforms – such as doormen, security, guest services and facilities employees – as a part of our five-star service. These uniforms are dry cleaned or laundered for staff members once a week so our team is polished, professionally dressed and ready to greet our clients, attendees and honored guests each day of the week.
Green dry cleaning came from an idea that Purchasing Agent Ben Calmes proposed. After speaking to his managers about the idea, Calmes put out a request for proposal to local dry cleaners that used Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved laundry detergent, softeners and practices. He and General Manager Brad Gessner were pleasantly surprised when the bids came back. Not only was the cost competitive for green dry cleaning, but the winning bid was from Continental Cleaners, a small business located just a few blocks away from the facility in downtown San Diego. By using a dry cleaner within such close proximity, the carbon footprint of dry cleaning and laundry services was reduced even more than anticipated.
"Our employees embody the Convention Center's 'reduce, reuse and recycle' philosophy and apply that social ethic to their jobs in a wide variety of ways every day," says Gessner. "Ben’s ingenuity has enabled us to make a more environmentally-friendly choice when it comes to our dry cleaning and laundry services and has ultimately helped our facility become more 'green' which has been one of our core values since the Convention Center opened in 1989."
The Convention Center is also looking into purchasing polo shirts made out of organic cotton, grown without pesticides and reclaimed water, as well as baseball caps made out of recycled plastic for 170 employees who work in facilities and grounds.