Green-washing in the Cleaning Industry

Hi Alex,
I saw the term 'green-washing' on the news the other day. Can you explain what the deal with 'green-washing' and 'organic' dry cleaning are? Am I getting duped?

Thanks!
Patrick

A:

Hi Patrick,

Glad to answer that question for you. These days, the cleaning industry can be difficult to navigate while knowing you are making the best choices for your family and the environment. With labels like "eco-friendly," "organic" and "green" being thrown around, it's important to know the difference. So let's look at the major alternatives in the industry. While there is no doubt how harmful the Drysolv/PERC used in traditional dry cleaning is, the merit of the alternatives being used is up for debate.

Green Earth: Green Earth bills itself as eco-friendly and safe. In reality, Green Earth systems use a silicone called D5 to clean your clothes. Over the last few years, there has been growing concern over the use of D5 to clean clothes. While it isn't toxic, it has been found to be "very persistent" in water and "very bio accumulative." That means the stuff hangs around in our environment and oceans for a long time, and that's not good  at all.

EcoSolv: If your dry cleaner has a sign that says organic in the window, it may be relying on petroleum based solvents to clean your clothes. The term "organic" only means the solvent used contains carbon  you know, like petroleum contains carbon  but that doesn't mean they are safe for the environment. In fact the producers of the products have faced court action for misrepresenting the so-called safe nature of their products.

Propylene Glycol: Another "organic" option is ether like Solvair or Rynex. While these cleaners are better alternatives to those listed above  it hasn't been linked to damaging our fish or our reproductive systems  but it has been found to contribute to air pollution and cause possible harm to your nervous system.

As you can see, the only safe choice is Wet Cleaning. Our system uses Mother Nature's favourite solvent: water. The other products we use are so safe they require no special handling or disposal, cause no harm to the environment or to your family's health. Not to mention, how clean can you expect something to be if it is washed without water?!

Hope that clears up some of the questions around the options in the cleaning industry. As always, if you come up with a question about the cleaning industry, Ask Alex.

All my best,
Alex

 


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