Relative Sustainability

Relative Sustainability

RonBenjamin
By: Ron Benjamin

What’s the most sustainable way to wash something? What method of washing causes the least impact to our planet and its people?

In actuality, the answer to those two questions is relative. It depends on what is being washed. For example, if it’s one dish after lunch, a wash and rinse in water is least impactful. The same would hold true for one blouse worn at lunch as well.

However, if there are hundreds of blouses to be washed, other considerations come into play. How much water would need to be used? What about the amount of soap needed? And the amount of energy used to wash and dry the blouses, and the effect of the rinse water and soap going down the drain?

One of the primary benefits to washing garments in a dry cleaning process rather than a laundry process is that the dry cleaning process occurs in a closed loop machine. No liquids or soaps are released down the drain at any time during the washing process.

In addition, scarce fresh water is not used for washing and therefore is conserved for those applications where it is most needed. The water is also not dumped down the drain requiring the energy necessary to pump it to and treat it in a water treatment plant.

GreenEarth was formed for the express purpose of developing and diffusing the most sustainable method of cleaning large quantities of garments and household items. Over the past 16 years, we have perfected the process of using liquid silicone as the dry cleaning fluid in the most energy and environmental effective way when considering the optimal configuration of the dry cleaning machine, the method of filtration, and the use of environmentally non-toxic detergents and additives.

And so while intuitively it seems to make sense that it is more sustainable to wash items in water rather than in a dry cleaning fluid, in actuality that logic holds only when small quantities of items are involved. Based on metrics such as the related energy costs, the use of scarcer natural resources, the treatment of the effluents generated, and the processing and finishing labor involved, it can be demonstrated that it is more sustainable to utilize dry cleaning rather than laundry when larger volumes are considered.

Just as importantly, the GreenEarth dry cleaning process is the most sustainable dry cleaning process available when measured against all other dry cleaning technologies. And while this is a significant statement, it is a claim that we can demonstrate and substantiate. Our mission is to communicate this information to those who determine how fabrics are washed — garment manufacturers, property managers, financial institutions, regulators, dry cleaners, and consumers — so that in the end all of us benefit by having a kinder, gentler clean in our lives.



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