Hesperian cleaners are a 'green' dry cleaning business. With the help of the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Alameda Green Business Program it's gotten rid of the nasty chemicals used for traditional dry cleaning in favor of 'wet cleaning' and adopted many other green business practices.
VO: It may sound a bit hokey but when it comes to be green...
Sung Lee I knew I was going to save some money
VO: Hesperian Cleaners is really cleaning up.
Sung Lee - (Saving)... about 4—5 thousand a year
VO: Sung Lee is the owner of Hesperian Cleaners, headquartered in San Lorenzo, where he has been a certified green business since 2008.
Sung Lee - It's not just you got a plaque and you hang it up there and you sit back and watch the business to grow. No.
VO: Lee is on a green mission. Energy efficient lighting Recycling bin. Reusing hangers. Reusable laundry bags. Recycling most every scrap of paper that would otherwise go in the garbage.
Sung Lee - We had a 65 gallon big bin, and all of a sudden we don't need it.
VO: Wait... he's not done. Lee switched over from dry cleaning with solvents to wet cleaning with ... water. Yes water. And that not only eliminates some rather nasty chemicals but when these news machines are running, the energy meter barely notices.
Sung Lee - The engineer said you can start now. And I said it already started.
VO: Laugh if you like but when Lee gets out his monthly energy bill, he's laughing all the way... well you know where.
Sung Lee - A cleaner, you would pay almost 450 to 500 dollars a month. Current charge up to January 1, is 255.86.
Paul St. Roseman - Customer I'm proud to say my cleaner is a green cleaner...
VO: And Hesperian's customers keep coming back...
NAT Sound (receipt rip) There you go , thank you very much.
VO: 10% growth Lee claims every year since being certified green. He's able to pass his green savings on to which they really like ... on top of knowing they're doing something that's right.
Teresa Moore - Customer Knowing that he was making a difference in our environment really, really made me happy that I was participating and bringing my things here
NATS: Is there a way that you've been working with your suppliers to make sure you are not getting any chlorinated compounds in your spotting agents?
VO: Lee won't stop. He's now going for re-certification with the Alameda Green Business Program. Pam Evans who heads it up, collaborates with the California Green Business Network and California's Department of Toxic Substances Control to show businesses how it makes dollars and sense to go green. She's looking for businesses to tackle five core areas, energy reduction, use less toxic chemicals, waste reduction, use less water and recycling. It can be hard work but Evans says the majority come back for more.
Pamela Evans -- Green Business Program It's more about customer retention and employee morale and safety. Once they get that logo, they want to keep it.
VO: Sung Lee says once you've gone green there's just no turning back.
Sung Lee - It changes you. It changes your concept, changes your mind-set to go forward with change. Constantly , where can I save, where can I change, how can I do this? Then you ask around and how do people do? And you adapt, change, change, change. So I say change is really good.