Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Conscious Spenders – Get on Green Dry Cleaning!

I felt like I was pretty green when it came to dry cleaning. I do not get plastic bags over my garments (which is easier said than done), I recycle my hangers, and I wear my dry-cleanables as many times as I can before I have to take them in. However, after I read Co-op America’s article today about Green Dry Cleaning, I am realizing that there is a lot more to the equation….

Part of the Green dry cleaning equation is about the waste, but is it very much about the chemicals that are used to “clean” the clothes too - chemincals that are dangerous to our health and the environment (which of course, impacts health, all cyclical)

According to the Occidental College’s Pollution Prevention Center, 85% of dry cleaners in the US (over 35,000) use perchloroethylene (also called perc) as a solvent in the dry cleaning process. This is a toxic chemical that is not good for people or the planet.

But we are not doomed to perc-cleaning. There are ways to clean clothes bearing a “Dry Clean Only” label without putting toxins into the environment, or bringing dangerous chemicals home or harming the health of the employees working at dry cleaners (thinking about their exposure to all those chemicals freaks me out)

We love Co-Op America’s suggested alternatives to dry cleaning:

Best Bets for Delicate Clothes (from Co-op America)
Our top recommendations for dealing with your “Dry Clean Only” clothes:

• Handwash your dry-clean-only clothes: Green living expert and Care2.com editor Annie Bond offers eco-friendly instructions on safely handwashing silk, wool, and rayon clothing.

• Use wet and liquid CO2 cleaners: Occidental College recently launched a national directory of liquid CO2 and wet cleaners. (The liquid CO2 cleaners listed do not include Solvair cleaners, which use a toxic solvent as part of their process.) Also, keep in mind that some wet cleaners, like Chicago’s Greener Cleaner, allow you to mail in your clothes and will mail them back to you wet-cleaned and pressed. Contact Greener Cleaner at 888/875-8345.

• Avoid hydrocarbon, greenearth, and solvair CO2 cleaning: Though somewhat better than perc, these methods all use toxic solvents.

And because Co-op America rocks, they even condensed all the information in their Real Money green dry cleaning article into a portable dry cleaning alternatives wallet card you can take with you. Get your downloadable green dry cleaning wallet card here.


Kathryn said...

Hi! I love your blog! :-D One way I've managed to avoid the dilemma of dry cleaning is not purchase dry-cleanables at all. For one thing, they are indeed pricey, unless you find some good ones at Goodwill or Salvation Army. Secondly, it saves me that much more money not having to hassle with the added gas-guzzling chore of driving to the cleaners. Granted, there are some professions where dry cleanables are somewhat of a must, so therefore your post about green dry-cleaning or handwashing the wools, silks and rayons is very pertinent.

Keep up the good posts. I shall add you to my blogroll. :-D

Rev. Kat ^.^

leaflover said...

thanks Rev. Kat! I agree minimizing dry cleaning is best...thanks for adding us to your blogroll!