Winning the Sustainability Category at this years Westpac Otago Business Excellence Awards came as quite a shock, admitted company director Rick Wellington. “Not only was this our first entry in the awards, but we were up against some other well-deserving competition” Rick said. “Although we have been incredibly focused on improved sustainability across the entire business over the last couple of years, to get the judges nod over a dedicated eco-lodge and a community wind farm, was humbling and hugely encouraging”.

Preens Apparelmaster are now in their second year of involvement in the In-Step Carbon and Sustainability programme and have already gained Silver Certification. The last report for the 2014 Dec to Feb quarter, noted usage of LPG had dropped by 11% -  lowering carbon emissions by 6%.

The judges were also impressed with Preens commitment to the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products and solvents. And also the multiple uses of water. Used initially for cooling the drycleaning machines, once heated the now warm water is used in the washing machines. Residual solvent and soling removed from the machines, is sent to Christchurch for industrial processing to save any solvent; this is then resold to industrial drycleaners for cleaning workwear.

At retail level Preens are also impressing upon their customers to join their sustainability programme by encouraging them to return their coat hangers for re-cycling. Preens also use bio-degradable poly bags for the return of customers garments.

“It sounds a bit cliché” commented Rick, “but this award recognizes the effort all the team at Preens have put into sustainable practices”. To this point Rick added that Preens have a dedicate employee lead committee looking at ways to constantly improve sustainable practices in the factory and stores and oversee our recycling programme. Currently under evaluation is a wood chip fired steam boiler to produce hot water and hot air for their dryers and other equipment around the factory. Preens are also working through their factory layout, with a view to finding more room to install equipment with even greater efficiencies to reduce water.

Follow link for related Otago Daily Times article http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/325844/greener-dry-cleaner-winner

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