More dry cleaners are discovering the benefits of becoming Eco-friendly businesses.
Today’s dry cleaners are working to save more money, making their businesses healthier, and giving back to the planet in unprecedented ways.
Surveys say that customers prefer companies who care about their causes and share their values.
Based on research by Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, 6 in 10 citizens of the United States think humans mostly cause global warming.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of becoming an environmentally-friendly dry cleaner.
What does this look like in action? Discover several ways to integrate Eco-friendly practices into your dry cleaning business.
Eliminate or Reduce Paper
Depending on your operations, eliminating paper may be difficult. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start taking steps to reduce paper used in your cleaner.
As an example, Enlite POS allows you to send customer receipts via email.
You can also use heat seal with Enlite POS. Eliminating the need for paper tags.
Some people might say, it’s only a small piece of paper. But every piece helps.
Wet Cleaning Versus Dry Cleaning
The first step to becoming a more Eco-friendly dry cleaner is to get rid of chemical solvents like tetrachloroethylene. This traditional dry cleaning chemical contributes to both indoor and outdoor pollution and is carcinogenic to humans. Wet cleaning, on the other hand, is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and several green groups nationwide.
Wet cleaning uses non-chemical biodegradable cleaning solvents. Wet cleaning is exceptionally gentle and works with virtually every fabric. You can also get rid of stain remover without shrinking your customers’ clean clothes.
Wet cleaning processes use unique digital cleaning machines. This Eco-friendly alternative also requires additional wet cleaning equipment, like pressing machines, steamers, and dry clean finishing.
Use Eco-friendly Dry Cleaning Detergents
Your next step is to switch out your chemical detergents for Eco-friendly alternatives. Wet cleaning is one way. The other option is changing your cleaning products. One option is liquid carbon dioxide, also known as C02 dry cleaning.
Liquid carbon dioxide is the stuff used to carbonate your favorite soft drinks. It’s also a non-toxic alternative for dry cleaning.
CO2 dry cleaners machines resemble regular machines, but they’re a little different. The dry cleaning machine’s drum is pumped with liquid carbon dioxide. Whatever CO2 is left from the sessions is injected into a holding container for the next cleaning.
Next to wet cleaning technology, C02 dry cleaning is the most Eco-friendly solution. A very minimal amount of C02 is released after each cleaning. Your business reduces its carbon footprint and water pollution activity. C02 dry cleaning machines use less energy than traditional machines and even wet cleaning machines.
D-5 Silicone Dry Cleaning Solvents
A newer eco-friendly alternative that’s getting a lot of attention with green dry cleaners is silicone solvents. Specifically, D-5 solvents. You’ll find similar ingredients in eco-friendly deodorant bars. After use, D-5 dry cleaning solvents break down into the earth, water, or carbon dioxide.
While chemicals are used to create D-5 silicone solvents, harmful chemicals don’t come in contact with the clothes.
Start a Recycling Program
Take the time to analyze your dry cleaning process, commercial dry cleaning and washing machines, for opportunities to recycle raw materials.
Recyclable materials include different kinds of:
You can even look at grocery stores for an easy recycling program.
Invest in reusable bags that customers can use more than once.
Change How You Power Your Dry Cleaning Machines
You understand which dry-cleaning solvents to use (and not use.) Now, it’s time to look at your approach to energy efficiency.
Today’s green dry cleaners are investing in alternative energy sources, like solar and wind energy.
According to Energy Sage, “the average price per watt for solar panels ranges from $2.57 to $3.35, and the cost of installing an average size solar power system is in the U.S. usually range from $11,411 to $14,874 after solar tax credits”.
Want to learn more about solar power costs? Check out this article by Energy Sage.
It’s worth visiting other eco-friendly cleaners to see which technology they’re using and how much they’re charging customers for it.
Use High-Effective Dry Cleaning Machines
Dry cleaning machines that run on alternative power are highly effective. Primarily if you invest in the right model.
What do you do if you can’t afford to switch to an alternative power source?
Investing 10s of thousands of dollars is not easy for most dry cleaning businesses, but not to worry. If you can’t switch, make necessary upgrades to improve the efficiency of your machines. Make sure your equipment isn’t using too much water or heat.
Your machines should have a high energy star rating, use an appropriate balance of water, temperature, and solvents. Take an audit of your inventory and remove equipment that is using too much energy for such little output.
Learn more about dry cleaning equipment: Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Dry Cleaning Equipment
Eco-Friendly Details Matter
Don’t forget about all those little details at your dry cleaning business. That would be your dry cleaning accessories, boxes, bags, hangers, and any complimentary items for customers.
Start by using reusable, Eco-friendly hangers. Broken hangers should be recycled, not thrown away. Make sure your hangers are made out of recyclable plastic or biodegradable plastic.
Are your clothing bags made from recycled materials? Invent in recycle plastic bags or sustainable fabric bags. Change your packaging too. When purchasing supplies, invest in recyclable containers and boxes.
Offering pickup and delivery services is also a way you can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that your customers’ car emits. You’ll be able to avoid your customers to drive to the cleaner. To make this service even more Eco-friendly, you could invest in a Hybrid Car.
Make Sure Your Staff Is On the Same Page
Excellent staff plays a significant role in Eco-friendly business models. Start by drafting an Eco-friendly policy that gets all your employees on the same page.
Outline your expectations for Eco-friendly practices, like cleaning only with eco-friendly products and non-chemical soaps. Make sure recycling bins are labels, so employees know where to throw away their recycles. Create a list of what can (and can’t) be thrown away or recycled.
The next is to reduce paper use in your company. Encourage staff to send emails and SMS instead of scribbling messages on paper. Start using heat seal instead, invest in a communication tool that streamlines meetings, and cuts down on paper. Start using a dry cleaning management tool that automates your operational needs from one dashboard.
Start Making a Change Today
There’s no time like the present to become more Eco-friendly. Use this guide to start transitioning to more environmentally-friendly dry cleaning practices.
Check out the blog to discover more ways to manage your business and lessen your impact on the planet. Contact us today to learn more about dry cleaning management software.