Taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility. But if you’re using the traditional dry-cleaning method in your business, you could be harming the environment. That’s because the method uses a harsh, carcinogenic chemical that harms the environment. Going green at your business, however, helps protect the environment while still serving your customers well.

Going green is a sound investment. It can result in huge savings for your business, which you can re-invest in it or take as profits. What’s more, going green differentiates you from other dry-cleaners, providing you with a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. In other words, going green can help you achieve your organization’s marketing goals.

Going Green Still Maintains Quality

Going green doesn’t mean, however, that you have to sacrifice quality for profits. Your customer’s clothes will still come out looking clean and beautiful. Nor does it mean you have to change the level of service you provide. You can still offer top notch service, with the ability to clean delicate fabrics such as silks, leather, suede, dainty trims, and heirloom fabrics.

But going green is a big decision. It requires a full commitment to the strategy if you’re going to adopt it. It also requires you make changes at your storefront that can transform how you do business. Going green can be just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking to take your business to the next level.

What is Green Dry-Cleaning?

Green dry cleaning refers to any process that doesn’t use perchloroethylene or “perc” to clean clothes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers this chemical both a health hazard and an environmental danger.

The EPA regulates perc closely and encourages businesses to use more environmentally friendly dry-cleaning methods. The most popular methods of green dry-cleaning include:

Wet cleaning

A gentler version of home laundering, this dry-cleaning method is the only one that doesn’t use perc in its process. Instead, it uses water and specialized detergents milder than home products to clean clothes.

In addition to not using harsh chemicals, this dry-cleaning method doesn’t contaminate water or soils, generate hazardous waste, or pollute the air. Dry cleaners using this method take extra care to treat stains before and after cleaning.

Liquid Carbon Dioxide Cleaning

This dry-cleaning method combines detergent with liquid carbon dioxide (C02) as the cleaning solvent. Manufacturers place the nonflammable gas under pressure to produce a solvent to lean clothes. After the clothes are cleaned, the liquid C02 is pumped back into a holding tank for reuse.

This method is extremely environmentally friendly. That’s because the C02 is captured as a by-product of an existing industrial process. Plus, only three percent of the CO2 used is lost to the air with each load of clothing, minimizing its environmental impact. The process also uses less energy than traditional methods, but machines using this process can be expensive.

Silicon-based solvent

Also known as the Green Earth cleaning method, this process replaces perc with liquified sand (Si02), which functions as a silicon-based solvent siloxane or D-5. T When discarded it breaks down into and, water, and carbon dioxide.

No chemicals touch your clothes with this process, but the manufacturing of the solvent uses chlorine. That produces the carcinogen dioxin during the production process. Otherwise, the method is very environmentally friendly.

The green dry-cleaning movement using the processes described above is picking up steam and will continue to do so for the immediate future.

Low Operating Costs, High-Profit Margins

Green dry-cleaners generally have low operating costs but high-profit margins. That makes green dry cleaning a good investment for established dry-cleaners, small business owners, and savvy entrepreneurs looking to invest in a new opportunity.

Plus, dry-cleaning storefronts have fixed hours. That minimizes operating costs, which includes the extra cost—and headache— of hiring employees. If you’re starting from scratch and have to buy dry cleaning equipment, you might not see a profit right away.

What’s more, you can offer auxiliary services, like tailoring, clothing repair, clothing preservation, and pick-up and drop-off service, to attract customers. Combine these services with rewards for a loyalty program, and you have the tools you need to build a solid—and profitable—customer base.

Taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility. So, If you’re an established dry-cleaner concerned about the impact you’re making on the environment, or you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself from competitors, green dry-cleaning could be just what the doctor ordered. It’s also a great opportunity if you’re an entrepreneur looking for a profitable investment.

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