The environmental regulatory burden associated with wetcleaning is significantly reduced. The need to comply with the Federal and state hazardous waste regulations, and with the Federal and state water quality regulations, is eliminated.

Availability of Wetcleaning Equipment and Detergents

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In response to the growing demand for wetcleaning, the number of companies that manufacture wetcleaning machines has risen from five in 1996 to nine as of May 1999. In addition, during the past several years, the number of companies that supply wetcleaning detergents and other chemicals has increased substantially to the present number of 17 suppliers. The new wetcleaning chemicals can be used in traditional laundry equipment provided that a professional cleaner possesses adequate knowledge of fibers and fabrics or has been properly trained.

Listed below is a current compilation of wetcleaning equipment and detergent manufacturers and suppliers. Also, Greenpeace has compiled a list of professional cleaners who offer wetcleaning. This list is available on the Greenpeace web site at: http://www.greenpeaceusa.org/reports/

Wetcleaning Machine Companies
Aqua CleanEdro
AquatexMarvel
Bowe PermacMilnor
Continental GirbauUniMac
  
  
Wetcleaning Detergent Suppliers
AdcoKirk's Suede Life
Aqua CleanLaidlaw
AquatexPariser
BüfaR.R. Streets
ColorexRoyaltone
DaewooSanitone
FabritecSeitz
Fiber TechStamford
Gurtler 
  
NOTE: The above listing of wetcleaning manufacturers and suppliers was compiled by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) (Chicago, Illinois). CNT has published a detailed report describing the types of wetcleaning equipment and detergents that are currently available.
  

What is Design for the Environment?

EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) Program is a voluntary initiative that forges cooperative partnerships among government, industry, academia, and environmental groups. One of the primary objectives is to incorporate environmental concerns into the design and redesign of products, processes, and technical management systems.

One of the goals of the DfE Garment and Textile Care Partnership (GTCP) is to provide cleaners with information that can help them run their facilities in a way that is safer for workers, more environmentally sound, and more cost effective. To accomplish this goal, the program utilizes EPA expertise and leadership to evaluate the environmental and human health risks, performance, and cost tradeoffs among clothes cleaning technologies. DfE disseminates information to all interested parties and assists businesses in implementing cleaner technologies.

The GTCP is preparing several documents addressing environmentally-preferable and commercially viable clothes cleaning technologies. The following documents and others are now available in hardcopy and on theGTCP Web page.

  • Wetcleaning Directory (EPA 744-B-99-002).
  • Case Study: Water-Based Cleaning System for Suede and Leather (EPA 744-K-98-017)
  • Case Study: Liquid Carbon Dioxide Surfactant System for Garment Care (EPA 744-K-99-002)

As more information becomes available on other new technologies, EPA will develop case studies addressing them as well.

References

American Drycleaner, "IFI Issues Official Position Statement on Wetcleaning," August 1998.

Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). September 1996. Alternative Clothes Cleaning Demonstration Shop: Final Report. Chicago, Illinois.

Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT). April 1999. Wetcleaning Equipment Report: A Report on Washers, Dryers, Finishing Equipment, and Detergents for Machine-Based Professional Wetcleaning. Chicago, Illinois.

Environment Canada. June 1995. Final Report for the Green Clean Project. Government of Canada Document No. EN40-5-0/1995/E. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)/Occidental College. December 1997. Pollution Prevention in the Garment Care Industry: Assessing the Viability of Professional Wetcleaning. Final Report. Pollution Prevention and Education Research Center. Los Angeles, California.

US Environmental Protection Agency. June 1998. Garment and Textile Care Partnership--An Eye to the Future: 1998 Conference Proceedings. Publication No. EPA 744-R-98-006. USEPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. Washington, D.C.

US Environmental Protection Agency. June 1998. Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment for Professional Fabricare Processes. Publication No. EPA 744-B-98-001. USEPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. Washington, DC

For More Information

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To obtain a copy of the CNT report titled Wetcleaning Equipment Report: A Report on Washers, Dryers, Finishing Equipment, and Detergents for Machine-Based Professional Wetcleaning, contact Mr. Anthony Star at:

Anthony Star
CNT
2125 West North Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Telephone: (773) 278-4800, Extension 299
Fax: (773) 278-3840

To obtain a copy of the UCLA report titled Pollution Prevention in the Garment Care Industry: Assessing the Viability of Professional Wetcleaning, contact Dr. Peter Sinsheimer at: