For about a year, whilst I was training as a Telecine Colourist for a Post-Production house in London I worked with a toxic and now banned substance called Tetrachlorethylene. You might struggle with where I am going with this but bear with me……It was widely used in the film industry for cleaning film although it was in fact a dry-cleaning chemical. We used it in a controlled environment and we were made fully aware of the dangers. However, that short period made me sit up and think every time I dropped an item into the Cleaners. To be honest, it made me think twice about buying clothes that were labelled ‘dry-clean only’. That was 15 years ago and now more than ever the environmental impact of our lives on the planet is self-evident. Tetrachlorethylene has now been replaced by Perchlorethylene or PERC which is still highly toxic and had its own list of associated problems.
But, if businesses can rise to the challenge of providing us with solid eco-friendly alternatives a culture of change could quickly become mainstream. Dry-cleaning doesn’t have to be a dirty word. This Irish business Bee Green is one that caught my eye and although their business covers a good portion of the West of Ireland it would be great to see the Bee Green dry cleaning method as the norm rather than as the ground breaker. A safer alternative to PERC has been around for quite a while. GreenEarth is the largest environmentally friendly dry-cleaning system and has been around since 1999. Not widely used in Ireland or the UK just yet but it is gathering momentum as it has in the US.
In the meantime I am crossing fingers and toes that my local Cleaners switches to a safer system so I can shop with impunity and ignore the care labels and that can only be good for business, right??