Oxy Goes Green with Professional Wet Clean
Occidental makes sustainable chic as the first college in the nation to offer professional wet-cleaning service to the campus community.
The Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) at Occidental College is offering the opportunity for students, staff, and faculty to have their clothes cleaned the green way. Beginning February 12, UEPI’s Pollution Prevention Center and Sunny Brite Natural Cleaners of Eagle Rock will offer an on-campus drop site for the environmentally friendly professional wet-cleaning service.
Professional wet cleaning is an alternative to the toxic and polluting solvents used in dry cleaning. Wet cleaning utilizes energy-efficient computer-controlled washers and dryers, nontoxic biodegradable detergents, and state-of-the-art finishing equipment to safely clean a full range of garments with a “dry clean” label.
“Our research indicates that wet cleaning is comparable to dry cleaning in quality, price, and turnaround time,” said Peter Sinsheimer, Pollution Prevention Center director. “Sunny Brite’s switch to wet cleaning helps the Southern California Air Quality Management District meet its goal of removing the estimated eight tons of toxic perchloroethylene, or perc, released daily into the environment by Southern California dry cleaners.” Used by 85 percent of all dry cleaners, the cleaning solvent perc has been classified as a probable carcinogen by the International Association for Research on Cancer and a hazardous air pollutant by the federal government and the state of California.
Sunny Brite’s Sunny Kim made the transition to professional wet cleaning six years ago. “Wet cleaning works,” says Kim, who has been a professional cleaner for 14 years. "We continue to offer high-quality service and, because operational costs are low, we didn't have to raise our prices. Also, by switching to a non-toxic technology, I can protect my customers, my employees, and my family from health risks associated with perc exposure.”
To kick off the green cleaning service, Occidental will be hosting a fashion show featuring green designers and an informational session about alternatives to dry cleaning. The show will feature clothes from Stewart+Brown, Haley K and The Battalion.
Stewart+Brown believes in optimizing their designs to attain the highest standards of quality and functional style while extracting the bare minimum from Earth's precious capital. The company donates a minimum of 1% of all sales to nonprofit, non-governmental environmental and social welfare organizations.
Haley K aims to provide “fashion with a conscience.” They work closely with their suppliers to ensure 100 percent certified organic products.
To find a green cleaner near you, go to www.igreenclean.org for a full listing of professional wet and CO2 cleaners in the United States.
Occidental’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College is a community-oriented research and advocacy organization with a mission of creating a more just, livable and democratic region. UEPI serves as the umbrella for a variety of affiliated programs, including the Pollution Prevention Center, which has been researching the viability of alternatives to toxic dry cleaning since 1995. PPC has become one of the leading experts on pollution prevention issues in the garment-care industry. For more information, visit www.igreenclean.org.