Tuesday, January 27, 2009
It is really interesting what one can find just by taking the time from their everyday life to explore their area. In my case, I was walking my dog through the streets of my city of Pleasant Hill when a small, neon sign flashing the words "Environmentally Friendly Process" caught my eye. This sign was attached to a dry cleaning store by the name of Grace Cleaners, located right across the street from the Pleasant Hill Walgreens. A quaint location placed near the bus stop, allowing for easy access to virtually anyone in the Bay Area seeing as how the buses drive to and from the BART stations every week.
That day I passed the store without another thought in my mind, yet after the January meeting for The Green News; I realized this dry cleaning store should be publicized for its earth-friendly efforts. Besides, I'm sure many of people have passed this store without truly acknowledging it, and I'm hoping this article will help to bring more individuals to such a location that promotes aiding the environment through their work.
I made sure to be prepared for my interview with the workers of Grace Cleaners, so I wrote down all the questions I planned to ask and called in advance to inform them of my visit. The woman who I interviewed was an employee of the store with a clear understanding of the products and methods used to be as environmentally-sound as possible.
Once I entered their store, I conducted an informative interview with the woman employee as she informed me that the reason their store is stated as having an "Environmentally Friendly Process" is because they choose not to use "perc" (Perchloroethylene), a solvent most commonly used in many dry cleaning stores. Unfortunately, short term exposure to this chemical is known to "cause adverse health effects on the nervous system that includes dizziness, fatigue, headaches, sweating, [lack of coordination], and unconsciousness. Long-term exposure can cause liver and kidney damage" as stated by The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Instead, Grace Cleaners use halogen-free hydrocarbon solvents which minimize the risks done to not only the environment, but to the health of the customers and workers involved in the whole process.
In addition to using alternative products, Grace Cleaners re-uses their chemicals on multiple loads before disposing of it. However, instead of simply dumping the final product into the sink, and therefore exposing a hazardous mix of chemicals into the water pipes and sewers, they have their Company come by every so often to take the solutions to a Hazardous Waste site to be properly disposed of. This is a seriously important aspect of being an environmentally-conscious dry cleaner store as it prevents any danger from occurring in the sewer systems and so on.
Over the course of 9 years, Grace Cleaners has performed their environmentally-friendly services for the public as more and more people find the appeal of taking their soiled clothing to a more earth-conscious store. With this in mind, many other dry cleaner stores should think of looking into making their methods of work healthier for the environment because as Grace Cleaners demonstrates, it won't hurt their business, but rather will lure more individuals into the appeal that is to keep not only our clothes neat as a button, but our Earth just as untarnished as well!!
-Dr. Green T
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