Roscoe Blog

The Chicago Uniform Company Looks Back on its History of Sustainability

Jim Buik - Friday, March 20, 2015

Roscoe Company Chicago-Work-Uniforms-Laundry-Service

The arrival of spring brings warmer weather, brighter colors, longer days and sweeter smells. It is also a time to reflect on Roscoe's effect on the environment and efforts to keep it as beautiful as possible. The uniform services company has always been committed to conserving and recycling natural resources and we pride ourselves in our history of environmentally friendly laundering. Follow through the years with us!

In 1921, founder George Buik was a "gate waiter." He waited at factory gates, taking home workers' clothes to clean and bring them back early the next morning. In 1925, Buik revolutionized the industry and set up a foundation of sustainability by owning the clothes and renting them to workers.

Cloth rags were a scarce resource not to be wasted, so the uniform company added cleaning shop towels to their sustainable product line in the mid 1920s. Just like uniforms, Roscoe transitioned the market from customer-owned goods to Roscoe owning the textiles, renting and cleaning them on a weekly basis.

In the 1950s, mat company continued to add to its reusable textile rental product line with the addition of floor mats and dust mops offering a more efficient way of cleaning and reducing the negative environmental impact of disposable products.

With the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, second generation owner Don Buik partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and both trade associations to install the nation's first wastewater treatment system in a commercial laundry. Since then, the Chicago mat company has held the longest running compliance record of any laundry in the nation with the MWRD (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District), who conducts semi-annual compliance testing.

Third generation owner, Jim Buik, testifies to Congress on behalf of the industry on the proper handling of re-usable shop and print towels in the 1990s, which codified industry best practices for these product lines and set the EPA on the path to the Shop Towel Rule, adopted in 2013. The ruling considers disposable rags and paper products as hazardous as the waste they are used to wipe up, citing the benefits of using reusables as a way to conserve natural resources, while also performing better.

This laundry service received the Governor's Pollution Prevention Award in 1999 for reductions in water usage and solid waste reduction initiatives.

In 2009, Roscoe goes even further with water and chemical consumption by consolidating and modernizing the facility. With the project came the installation of a new boiler, a stack economizer and a DAF water treatment system resulting in a 37% reduction in water consumption, 25% reduction in chemical consumption and a 29% reduction of natural gas consumption.

Creating one of the most sustainable operations in the nation led to being awarded the inaugural TRSA (Textile Rental Services Association) LaundryESP Innovation Award in 2011. The award recognizes novel approaches by companies and/or facilities to increase sustainability, conserve natural resources and reduce the operation's overall environmental impact.

The uniform services company became Clean Green Certified in 2012 for our Best Management Practices of water reuse, reclamation and removal and green efforts throughout our plant and outside of the plant. Some of these include the use of T8 fluorescent lights with motion sensors and skylights, the recycling of hangers, cardboard boxes and pallets, the use of linen laundry bags instead of plastic disposable bags and the use of Route Optimization software that reduces mileage and fleet fuel consumption.

In 2015, we installed LED lights in production areas, which will help us reduce kilowatts consumed for lighting by over 40%. LEDs typically use 25-80% less energy and last 3-25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, in addition to the countless benefits it provides in worker safety and productivity.

With an eye on the future, the Chicago uniform company has two projects on the drawing board to enhance our sustainability. The first involves solid waste reduction by de-watering liquid sludge and the second focuses on additional water recycling.

We are excited to do our utmost in operating in the most sustainable manner. If you would like to learn more about our best practices or would like to come in for a tour contact a uniform services representative today.

Contact us to learn more about Roscoe: The Chicago Work Uniform Company


Recent Posts


Tags

image apparel sludge filter nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE) flame resistant wet mops history SHARP certification automatic paper towel dispensers community service blood drive blackhawks facilities management services ISO 9001:2015 lawndale business renaissance association (LBRA) ISO 9001:2008 logo apparel high visibility dust mops hygienically clean local and independent arrow uniform RFID g&k Earth Day flu prevention midwest textile services association (MTSA) custom floor mats image mats clean green certified automatic hand sanitizers manufacturing coat angels toilet seat cleaners OSHA Angel Tree UHF chips customer satisfaction survey restroom hygiene products anti-fatigue mats family business automatic foam soap barcode food processing invoicing executive uniform garments keynelink logo mats work uniform rental shortages super bristle mats testimonials continuous improvement case study Independent Textile Rental Association (ITRA) work uniforms 20-year-club success story 95th anniversary restroom cleaning supplies governor's sustainability award shop towel rule executive management institute (EMI) customer communication leasing cleaning process feeding america hand sanitizer branded merchandise soaker mats net promoter score wastewater treatment shop towels FreshSeat National Safety Month chicago tribune kannegiesser national fire protection association (NFPA) anti-static uniforms clean show activewear linen laundry bags facility tour microfiber roll towels unifirst air sanitizer restroom mats outerwear corporate apparel sorting system textile rental services association (TRSA) illinois patriot education fund (IPEF) floor mat rental soil scanning toilet seat sanitizer succession planning laundry services family picnic garden city business center Sustainability food safety modernization act (FSMA) restroom supplies hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) A21 WalkForFreedom pathogen elimination scraper mats teamwork wipers ANSI laundryESP Innovation award cintas microbial contamination fleece

Archive