8.05.2006

Cool dry cleaners

Nick's work has this dry cleaning service that picks up and delivers from the office, which is great for when he needs stuff laundered. Unfortunately, this means we have an excess of wire hangers that just pile up. Luckily, I found a dry cleaners in the Mission, Biltmore Laundry on Valencia Street, that reuses old hangers. I dropped a bunch off today. Pretty cool! I know dry cleaners have their own negative impact on the environment, but since so many people use them, it's nice that one of them is at least trying to reduce and reuse...

While I'm at it, though, I'll mention a few facts I found on the Environmental Protection Agency's web site about dry cleaners:

Dry cleaners are the single largest users of Perchloroethylene (PCE or perc). Perc is an organic solvent of known human toxicity and is a precursor to ground level ozone (smog). Exposure to perchloroethylene can occur in the workplace or in the environment following releases to air, water, land, or groundwater. PERC enters the body when breathed in with contaminated air or when consumed with contaminated food or water. PERC is less likely to be absorbed through skin contact. Once in the body PERC can remain, stored in fat tissue.

Perchloroethylene evaporates when exposed to air. It dissolves only slightly when mixed with water. Most direct releases of PERC to the environment are to air. It also evaporates from water and soil exposed to air. Once in air, PERC breaks down to other chemicals over several weeks. Because it is a liquid that does not bind well to soil, PERC that makes its way into the ground can move through the ground and enter groundwater. Plants and animals living in environments contaminated with PERC can store small amounts of the chemical. Although most dry cleaners use less than 140 gallons of perc a year, there are an estimated 25,000 to 35,000 dry cleaning facilities nationwide. Therefore, the cumulative environmental impact from these numerous facilities is significant.


Anyway, I'm not sure I can stop the world (or even my husband) from using dry cleaners, but at least I can bring my old wire hangers to a place where they'll be reused rather than ending up in some landfill somewhere...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Finding a drycleaner that makes use of those old hangers is just one of the PERCs of being environmentally conscious. Oh yes, I went there.

Bad puns aside, I think too many people hold the belief that pollution is primarily large corporations pumping toxins into the water and air by the ton, rather than realizing that probably the majority is caused all the little things adding up over the scope of several billion people. With that in mind, anything a person can do to help--even something as relatively small as reusing wire hangers--gets a big thumbs-up in my book.

jfh said...

NO WIRE HANGERS!!!!! Sorry, but eco politics just pale at the thought of Joan Crawford, Mommy Dearest, and the victim, Christina, having to put up with Grande Psycho Mommie, Joan Crawford.
p.s. Anonymous, I agree with you, who are you?

Anonymous said...

It's not me! I stick to the offensive jokes. With little thinking.

I have insomnia.

Anonymous said...

Beer bong?

Mary Tsao said...

Cool!

When I think of how much dry cleaning I did when I wore suits every day, wow. I'm sure glad I no longer have to get my clothes dry cleaned.

Now I guess I use up more water. :|

Elizabeth said...

I was all excited to tell you about the dry cleaner I use, who claims to be enviromentally friendly. I thought first that I'd google around to find out what it was that made them different. They apparently use the GreenEarth method of cleaning. So I googled that and found a link saying it's possible that the solvent they use may cause cancer in rats. Oops. But they aren't using PERC!

Jennifer said...

doesn't it sometimes seem like everything "might" cause cancer in rats? Poor rats!

seriously, though, at least the Green Earth method is a step in the right direction, which is all we can hope for--heading in the right direction!