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Hesperian Cleaners owner Sung Lee, shown here with his father Hak Lee who helped start the business, has won several awards for conserving water and making his cleaners environmentally friendly.

Dry Cleaners in San Lorenzo conserves water

By Jim Knowles

San Leandro Times

The East Bay Municipal Utility District recognized Hesperian Cleaners in San Lorenzo as a WaterSmart Business for its water efficiency.

Hesperian Cleaners owner Sung Lee says he wants to lead the way in the dry cleaning industry.

“I want to set an example, to become a leader in the industry so others will follow,” Lee said.

Lee’s cleaners went to a water-based cleaning system, instead of using solvents or other chemicals. But he says the German-built machines are very efficient in the way they use water, so he has reduced his water consumption.

“These machines are computer controlled with different programs to treat each fabric and garment differently,” Lee said.

Lee opened Hesperian Cleaners at 15848 Hesperian Blvd. in San Lorenzo in 1982, and has since opened shops in Castro Valley (22321 Redwood Road), and Danville (438 Diablo Road). His shops also do alterations and clean wedding gowns and draperies.

But water reduction is just a part of Lee’s environmental effort at his cleaners. He stepped up his recycling to include everything from plastic bags to a separate container for metal (hangers), and he offers customers reusable garment bags to cut down on plastic.

The reusable bags are green and made of material similar to reusable grocery bags. The bags turn inside-out to make a laundry bag, then they can be reversed for the freshly laundered clothing.

Lee is proud of his shop’s awards, which include: Certified Green Business from the Bay Area Green Business Program, and the Business Environmental Award from Acterra.

“We’re the smallest business to win the Acterra award,” Lee said. “That award usually goes to companies like Apple or Genentech.”

The East Bay Municipal District will recognize Lee and other business owners at its board meeting at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26, at 375 11th St. in Oakland. The businesses will receive a plaque and be able to display EBMUD’s WaterSmart logo.

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