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dry cleaners project





Contact:  
>Tom Watson, National Waste Prevention Coalition coordinator
(206) 296-4481

>For Immediate Release 
>April 20, 1998
>
>IN SEARCH OF THE CLEANEST CLEANERS
>All it takes is a few committed businesses to turn an industry around.
>That's what's happening in the dry cleaning industry.  Traditionally, most
>dry cleaners have used perchloroethylene, or "perc," a toxic solvent.  Many
>dry cleaners have also generated large amounts of solid wastes, such as
>hangers and plastic bags.  But today, cleaners around America have begun
>using less-toxic alternatives to perc.  Some cleaners even use new "wet
>cleaning" methods instead of dry cleaning.  A number of  cleaners and trade
>associations have also started programs to collect and reuse hangers, or to
>use durable bags instead of single-use plastic polyethylene bags. 
>
>In conjunction with Earth Day, 1998, the National Waste Prevention Coalition
>(NWPC) announces its new Model Cleaners Project.  The NWPC is now accepting
>nominations from the public, from cleaners themselves, and from trade groups,
>in an effort to determine which cleaners around the nation are doing the best
>job of reducing waste.  After a thorough evaluation (assisted by local
>agencies), the NWPC will select the "cleanest cleaners."  These cleaners will
>serve as industry models of waste prevention as we begin the 21st Century. 
>
>Nominations for Model Cleaners are due by July 31, 1998.  Send nominations
>to:  NWPC, P.O. Box 24545, Seattle, WA, 98124-0545.  You can also e-mail them
>to:  tom.watson@metrokc.gov
>
>The National Waste Prevention Coalition and its members are concerned about
>dry cleaners for several reasons.  Perc, the toxic solvent, poses hazards to
>workers.  Also, many people who live near dry cleaners are worried about the
>fumes from perc.  In large cities, people often live in apartments directly
>above or adjacent to dry cleaners.  In addition to the toxics issues, the
>solid wastes generated by dry cleaners are substantial.  For example, in New
>York City alone, the Department of Sanitation estimates that residents
>discard more than 2,000 tons of dry cleaner hangers and more than 1,000 tons
>of dry cleaner plastic bags each year, to be disposed of at the expense of
>local government and its taxpayers.
>
>The NWPC -- which includes representatives of local and state governments,
>non-profits, universities, consultants and others -- was formed in 1994 to
>develop national waste prevention projects.  Its other major project is the
>National Junk Mail Reduction Campaign.  For more information on the NWPC, see
>its Internet website at: http://www.metrokc.gov/nwpc
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