By Jim Gilligan
Are you concerned about the environmental impact of your dry cleaning choices? If so, you may have come across the term “greenwashing” and wondered how to distinguish between genuinely eco-friendly dry cleaners and those that merely claim to be. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find a dry cleaner that genuinely practices sustainable methods and prioritizes the environment.
With over 40 years of experience in the dry cleaning industry, and as an early adopter of eco-friendly dry cleaning in 2007, I’ve made it our mission to continually improve our environmentally responsible practices. The knowledge gained along the way allows us to provide valuable insights into traditional and environmentally dry cleaning methods and help you make informed choices when selecting a dry cleaner.
In this article, we will discuss what greenwashing is, how it occurs in the dry cleaning industry, and provide tips on identifying genuine eco-friendly practices. By the end of this article, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision that aligns with your environmental values and garment care needs.
What is Greenwashing?
Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice in which a company presents itself as environmentally friendly or sustainable when, in reality, its actions or products do not align with those claims. Greenwashing can involve misleading labels, exaggerated claims, or a general lack of transparency about a company’s actual environmental impact.
Green Washing in the Dry Cleaning Industry
In the dry cleaning industry, greenwashing is often associated with the way dry cleaning companies define or label their cleaning solvents or processes. Traditional dry cleaning has relied on the use of petrochemical solvents like hydrocarbon and perchloroethylene (perc), a chemical that has been linked to environmental and health concerns. As a result, there has been a growing demand for alternative, eco-friendly dry cleaning methods.
Some dry cleaners have responded to this demand by claiming to be “green,” “eco-friendly,” or even “organic” without providing clear evidence to support these claims. In some cases, they may use alternative solvents that are marketed as environmentally friendly but still have negative environmental or health impacts. In other instances, a dry cleaner may make vague or unsubstantiated claims about its environmental practices without any verifiable proof.
How to Identify Genuine Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning Practices
To make informed decisions about your dry cleaning choices and avoid greenwashing, consider the following tips:
Research alternative cleaning methods: Educate yourself on the various dry cleaning methods available, including wet cleaning, liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) cleaning, and liquid silicone. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each method will help you make an informed decision.
Look for certifications: Reputable eco-friendly dry cleaners often have certifications to demonstrate their commitment to environmentally responsible practices. Examples include the GreenEarth Cleaning certification and the Green Business Bureau Green Business Certification. These certifications require dry cleaners to meet specific standards in order to qualify.
Ask about solvent disposal: Proper solvent disposal is crucial to minimizing environmental impact. Ask your dry cleaner how they handle waste disposal and whether they adhere to any specific guidelines or regulations.
Assess the facility: An eco-friendly dry cleaning facility should prioritize energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction. This can include using energy-efficient equipment, recycling hangers and packaging materials, and implementing water-saving practices.
Verify claims: If a dry cleaner claims to be eco-friendly, don’t hesitate to ask for more information. Request details about their cleaning methods, solvents used, and any environmental certifications they hold.
Read reviews: Check online reviews and testimonials to see if other customers have had positive experiences with a dry cleaner’s eco-friendly practices. Keep in mind that no one company is perfect, but consistent positive feedback about their environmental efforts can be a good indicator of genuine commitment.
Observe transparency: A genuinely eco-friendly dry cleaner should be open and transparent about its practices. If a dry cleaner is reluctant to share information or provide specific details about its environmental efforts, this could be a red flag.
Consider customer service: An eco-conscious dry cleaner should prioritize customer education and communication. Look for businesses that take the time to explain their processes, answer questions, and provide guidance on how customers can contribute to a greener dry cleaning experience.
Green Washing: Making an Informed Decision
When you began reading this article, you may have been unsure how to recognize greenwashing in the dry cleaning industry. Now, you have a clearer understanding of what greenwashing is, its implications, and how to identify genuine eco-friendly practices.
Armed with this knowledge, you can make more informed decisions when selecting a dry cleaner the at aligns with your environmental values and garment care needs. Remember to research, ask questions, and look for verifiable eco-friendly certifications and practices.
If you have any further questions or concerns about greenwashing or eco-friendly dry cleaning, feel free to reach out to us at Snedicor’s Cleaners. As industry experts and leaders in green dry cleaning practices, we’re here to help guide you in finding the best dry cleaning solution for your specific needs. Whether you choose a traditional dry cleaner or one with a focus on sustainability, we’ll be here to support you every step of the way.