Friday, November 5, 2010

Green Dry Cleaner in DUMBO, Cobble Hill

Recently I met with Ken Kinzer (above), a dry cleaner who has locations on Front Street in DUMBO and Court Street in Cobble Hill. After telling me about GreenEarth Cleaning, one of the methods he uses to dry clean — the other is wet cleaning, which simulates hand washing — I told him about a memory I have from when I was younger and got a sweater back from the cleaners. I smelled it, wanting to snuggle into my nice clean sweater, but I was immediately confronted by the most horrific chemical smell.

The smell was most likely perchloroethlyene (perc), a technically organic compound used by most dry cleaners. It's also a carcinogen. Kinzer's method, GreenEarth Cleaning uses silicone to clean clothes and it doesn't leave a smell.

“It’s safe for the clothes, it’s safe for the customer, it’s safe for the environment,” he said.

Read my story about Kinzer and his dry cleaning plants here.

The Million Pound Challenge: NYC Recycles Clothes to Reach Goal

Back in September GrowNYC — a non-profit geared toward improving the quality of life in the five boroughs through environmental programs — launched The Million Pound Challenge. This challenge calls on New Yorkers to bring unwanted or worn out clothes to eight weekly drop-off sites, with the goal of reaching the million pound mark by Dec. 31. Instead of going to waste, materials are sorted and redistributed to secondhand clothing markets, rag makers and fiber recyclers. So far, 830,000 pounds of textiles have been collected.

“When the City published the findings of its comprehensive Waste Characterization Study in 2006 we were shocked to see that 6 percent of our waste consists of textiles — this is after residents have sifted out items to donate to their favorite charities,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “There is no easier way to reduce this figure than to add textiles to your recycling routine. Our collections are unique in that we’ll take all of your clean, dry, unwanted textiles.  Now there’s a solution for what to do with those bleach-stained towels.”

Each ton of material kept out of the trash represents a savings to taxpayers, who foot the bill for sending discards to out of state landfills. Visit the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket in Brooklyn to drop off textiles for recycling.