The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute has awarded All Fabric Cleaners of Suffolk County a $17,500 grant to convert to environmentally friendly cleaning operations.
With funds from the grant, All Fabric Cleaners will convert their operations from dry cleaning to professional wet cleaning and will demonstrate wet cleaning technology to other dry cleaners. All Fabric Cleaners is one of two New York cleaners receiving this award.
“This grant will have many benefits over the next year and beyond,” said Anahita Williamson, director of NYSP2I. “From the financial benefit for All Fabric Cleaners in their conversion to the wet cleaning technology, to the environmental benefit for the local area, and the learning opportunity for other dry cleaners through demonstrations, it’s a great opportunity for the community as a whole.”
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Source Reduction Assistance Grant awarded to the institute funds the purchase and installation of wet cleaning equipment at All Fabric Cleaners. Professional wet cleaning is an environmentally preferable alternative to perchloroethylene, or perc, which washes dry-clean-only garments in water with specialized detergents and equipment.
Dry cleaners typically operate using perc, the traditional dry cleaning solvent that is linked to liver, brain and kidney damage. It is classified as a probable human carcinogen and persists in sediment and air once released into the environment.
Yong Choi, owner of All Fabric Cleaners, will install the washer, dryer and tensioning equipment this fall at his store in Farmingville. “When I heard about the program, I was already interested in wet cleaning,” says Choi. “NYSP2I put me in contact with successful wet cleaners in California who answered my questions and I attended the CleanShow in Las Vegas to learn more about wet cleaning. After hearing story after story of successful cleaners, I knew I was making the right choice.”
The institute will collect cost and performance data of All Fabric Cleaners’ past perc operations and their wet cleaning operations to compare the technologies. This information will be used to encourage other cleaners to convert to wet cleaning technology and to educate New York state policy makers about the use of perc and wet cleaning at dry cleaners.
“We are very excited to show dry cleaners and the public that wet cleaning works, without sacrificing quality of cleaned clothes, the environment or economics,” says Kate Winnebeck, New York State Professional Wet Cleaning Program manager. “Wet cleaning customers, employees and neighbors all benefit from the conversion from perc to wet cleaning. It’s a win-win all the way around.”
All Fabric Cleaners will hold two demonstration events to showcase the technology to other dry cleaners in spring and summer 2012. Anyone interested in attending a demonstration or for more information should contact Winnebeck at 585-475-5390 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Professional Wet Cleaning Program, go to www.nysp2i.rit.edu/garment_cleaning.
NYSP2I is a statewide research and technology transfer center funded by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. RIT and its partner universities, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University and the University of Buffalo, along with the state’s 10 regional technology development centers together comprise the NYSP2I. The vision for the NYSP2I is to foster the transformation and development of sustainable businesses and organizations in New York in a collaborative program committed to making the state a leader in environmental stewardship.