What Makes a Dry Cleaner Eco-friendly?
As we celebrate Earth Day, have you thought about what makes a dry cleaner eco-friendly?
Eco-friendly dry cleaners, or green dry cleaners, typically refer to dry cleaners who use eco-friendly dry-cleaning methods such as wet cleaning, liquid CO2 cleaning, and GreenEarth cleaning. Traditional dry cleaning involves the use of a solvent called perchloroethylene (also known as “perc”), which can be harmful to both human health and the environment. Dry cleaners can switch to these methods to reduce their environmental impact.
Green dry-cleaning methods
- Wet cleaning: This method involves using water and a biodegradable detergents to clean clothes instead of solvents. It is particularly effective for cleaning delicate fabrics that would not withstand the heat and agitation of traditional dry cleaning. The owner of Utopia Cleaners, Myeong Ho Lowe, is an early adopter of this method. He experimented and perfected the wet cleaning system at his processing plant in Arlington, MA. As a result, workers there are no longer exposed to perc, and hazardous wastes and air emissions are no longer produced.
- Liquid CO2 cleaning: This method uses liquid carbon dioxide instead of solvents to clean clothes. The liquid CO2 is pressurized and pumped through the clothing, where it acts as a cleaning agent. This method is more expensive than traditional dry cleaning, but it is environmentally friendly and does not produce hazardous waste.
- GreenEarth cleaning: GreenEarth is a silicone-based solvent that is non-toxic and biodegradable. It can be used in traditional dry-cleaning machines with some modifications, making it a cost-effective and eco-friendly option.
- Air and vapor cleaning: This method uses air and vapor to clean clothes instead of solvents. It is a relatively new technology, but it has the potential to be a highly sustainable dry-cleaning method.
Most dry cleaners also offer wash, dry and fold laundry services. Eco-friendly dry cleaners use detergents made with natural, biodegradable ingredients free from harmful chemicals. Switching to these detergents can help reduce the amount of toxic chemicals that are released into the environment. They also use chlorine-free softeners and dryer sheets. In 2019, Utopia Cleaners introduced a germ-free laundry service that uses an environmentally friendly soap to remove germs from dirty laundry such as sick bed linens, stained garments and underwear.
Eco-friendly Garment Bags
According to some estimates, over 5 billion plastic bags are used annually, and each plastic bag can take hundreds of years to decompose. When they do decompose, they leave small particles behind that pollute the environment. The plastic poly bags used for your dry-cleaning break easily and are usually thrown into the garbage after a single use. Then they end up sitting in a landfill for years. To help save the environment, Utopia Cleaners uses reusable canvas bags from Green Garmento instead of plastic poly bags.
Unlike plastic dry-cleaning bags, the eco-friendly Green Garmento bag is not made of harsh chemicals that harm the environment. It can be used like a hamper for collecting your laundry and dry cleaning. When it is filled, you tie it up and call us for laundry pickup service. After cleaning, we will deliver your professionally cleaned garments back to you ready to hang. And don’t worry about having to clean the bag either! We will do that for you and return the same bag back to you after each dry cleaning! Amazing right?
Other Earth-friendly Business Practices
Dry cleaners have other ways to help save the earth as well.
Most dry cleaners have recycling programs for hangers and packaging materials to reduce waste.
Dry cleaners can adopt sustainable business practices such as using energy-efficient lighting and reducing water usage.
Utopia Cleaners is committed to environmentally friendly business practices. We hope you will join us in making the world a better place to live for future generations.