For the past couple of years people have been waking up to the hazards of conventional dry cleaning. Dry cleaners are the number one users of an industrial solvent called Perchloroethylene (PERC), which is toxic to humans and contributes to smog. So how do you know when a dry cleaner is green? Unfortunately, the green cleaning industry has not set a standard leading to confused customers and damage to the environment.
How to Find a Green Dry Cleaner: Look through green business listings.
The good news is that there are directories available for your green cleaning needs. The folks over at the Green Cleaners Council came up with a rating system so that people would know when their dry cleaners are really green or just misleading consumers. The qualifications to be a truly green cleaner include: wet cleaning capabilities, recycling programs, water and energy conservation, and investment in technologies that go above and beyond government regulations. The Green Cleaners Council also has a directory so you can find the greenest cleaner near you.
The independent site Greenopia also offers an extensive of green cleaners or any other business you can think of.
How to Find a Green Dry Cleaner: Know your solvents.
Most of the concerns surrounding dry cleaning center around the use of the solvent PERC which is used by 85% of dry cleaners. PERC is considered to be a probably carcinogen by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Agency. Some studies have even linked PERC to cancer and reproductive issues among dry cleaner workers.
In light of a demand for green dry cleaning, many dry cleaners no longer use PERC. Unfortunately, they switched over to a similar solvent called DF-2000 which is only slightly less toxic than PERC. When looking for a green cleaner ask about what solvents they use and look them up.
How to Find a Green Dry Cleaner: Know the green cleaning techniques.
Many eco conscious people say that “wet cleaning” is the best alternative to traditional dry cleaning. Wet cleaning uses a sophisticated computer controlled machines that gently launder with water and biodegradable solvents. Unfortunately, this kind of cleaning cannot be used for all garments.
There is also another process used by green dry cleaners that is making quite a buzz. Many truly organic cleaners have adopted a carbon dioxide cleaning process. In this method, CO2 is put under high pressure to convert it into a liquid. In its liquid form, CO2 acts as a carrier of biodegradable soaps in a similar way that water does in a washing machine. Once the cleaning cycle is done, the CO2 turns back into gas and is reused.
When looking for a green dry cleaner many things need to be taken into consideration. By knowing about cleaning solvents and acceptable green cleaning techniques you can quickly narrow down your choices instead of being confused by misleading ads.
Finally, you should also be aware of price. Some places will charge a lot of money for green cleaning. If there is no reasonably priced dry cleaner in your area you can always hand wash some of your clothes at home with biodegradable solvents. At the end of the day, every little bit helps in protecting the environment.
The Daily Green – Dry Clean Green
The Daily Green – When Green Cleaning Services Mislead Consumers
The New York Times