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It is an intriguing term, and a quick search of green authority sites reveals that it has no definitive meaning by industry standards or by law.

It CAN mean that the dry cleaning establishment seeks to act in an environmentally responsible manner. And some are environmentally responsible, using only non-toxic chemicals and processes.

But "organic dry cleaning" also can simply mean the establishment sees an opportunity to penetrate the growing market of environmentally conscious consumers, and that the cleaners is offering essentially the same old services using the same old toxic and injurious chemicals that dry cleaners have always offered, just dressing them in "green" jargon.

It's a misleading, but not technically false, approach. Many toxic chemicals are organic, that is, are carbon-based. The highly unhealthy traditional drycleaning fluid, perchloroethylene, technically, is organic.

  Patricia Mayville-Cox at Green Daily looked into organic drycleaning early this year and her resulting article gives a pretty good overview of the state of the art -- here's the link to it:

http://www.greendaily.com/2008/02/22/is-organic-dry-cleaning-for-real/

For now, before patronizing a cleaners that advertises "organic drycleaning," you might want to ask them exactly what that means and whether they use  perchloroethylene or any other hazardous chemicals.

But that's asking a lot of busy consumers. It's probably too much to even ask most people to learn to pronounce <i>perchloroethylene</i>. Thankfully, it's referred to in the industry as "perc." Easier to pronounce and easier to remember.

We want to feel like we're doing a good thing by voting environmentally with our dollars and supporting businesses and technologies that are healthy and encourage planetary healing. It's getting more difficult to do that though, as more businesses seek weasel ways to posture themselves in the public eye as being actively environmentally sound, when in fact they really are not.

Thank you, Gregory, for raising this crucial issue.

 

 

 

 

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