The Closet

4 Actions Rinse Takes To Protect The Environment

4 Actions Rinse Takes To Protect The Environment

At Rinse, your health and the environment matter. That's why we take the following actions to make sure that it’s not just your clothes that are treated with care.
 

Rinse is perc free

1. Rinse is perc-free

Historically, the most widely used solvent in dry cleaning has been perchloroethylene (“perc”), but this solvent is a known carcinogen and can have a hazardous impact on the environment and individuals’ health.

An estimated 80% of dry cleaners still use it, but Rinse only works with dry cleaning partners who use environmentally friendly cleaning processes, and none of our partners use perc.

Wait, why would anyone use perc?

The short answer is that it’s a very effective cleaning agent and it is accepted as a part of the industry. The environmentally friendly alternatives to cleaning with perc, are effective, but they take more time and effort on the part of the cleaner, which means it costs them more.

When you support cleaners that abstain from using perc, you are helping the entire industry move in a more environmentally friendly direction.

Read more about Perc and Rinse’s Green Cleaning Practices.

 

Rinse is perc free

2. Rinse accepts clothing donations


We’ll collect any clothing that you’d like to donate and make sure it gets to a charitable organization, rather than ending up in landfill.

Did you know that the average American throws away up to 81 pounds of laundry per year? And that one in three of people surveyed said that they threw their old clothes out because it was easier that recycling or donating?

Many people don’t realize the true cost and value of their clothes—just creating a single t-shirt can take up to 700 gallons of water. By donating or recycling your old clothes instead of throwing them away, you are not just helping your community and the charitable organizations that receive them but you are making a huge impact on the environment!

What you can do - When you have clothes you’d like to donate, just put them in a separate bag (don’t put them in your Rinse bags!) and your Rinse Valet will collect them during your next pickup or delivery. We then make sure that your clothes are given to a local charity and stay out of the landfill!

Rinse offers repairs
Thinking of parting with your favorite piece because of a tear, broken zipper, or missing buttons? Rinse can likely repair it for you! Check our our pricing by repair type here. 

 

Rinse uses biodegradable poly bags and recycles hangers

3. Rinse uses less water and less energy

Our cleaning partners use high-efficiency washing machines which means up to 50% less water is used when compared to traditional, at-home washing machines, resulting in millions of gallons of water saved each year.

Additionally, cold water washing not only keeps your clothes looking better for longer, but it saves energy. Combined with high-speed spin cycles which reduces the amount of time clothes need to spend in the dryer, Rinse is able to significantly reduce the amount of water, electricity, and carbon emissions associated with cleaning.

 

Rinse uses less water and less energy

4. Rinse uses biodegradable poly bags and recycles hangers

Traditional Dry Cleaning and Wash & Fold practices use plastic to ensure your clean clothes stay clean when they’re delivered to you. Rinse does this, too, however, much of the plastic wrapping that Rinse uses is biodegradable. For the portion that isn’t we’re happy to collect the plastic and recycle it for you.
 

What you can do - At your next pickup or delivery, give your Rinse Valet any unwanted wire hangers and the non-biodegradable portion of plastic used to protect your Rinse orders so Rinse can recycle them.
 

 

 

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Dangers Of Perc
dangers-of-perc-in-dry-cleaning

What is PERC?

PERC is short for Perchloroethylene, a colorless volatile organic solvent commonly used in dry cleaning. Although PERC is effective at dissolving stains and dirt from clothing, it also poses significant health risks if it’s not properly controlled. Since the 1930s, PERC has set the standard for cleaning performance in the industry—nearly 80% of dry cleaner in the US and Canada currently use PERC. Its effectiveness as a cleaning agent however comes with some significant downsides.

Dangers

The Environmental Protection Agency considers PERC a toxic air pollutant, meaning that it’s “known or suspected to cause cancer or other serious health effects.”

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), PERC is a "potential occupational carcinogen." The National Toxicology Program has designated it as "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," while The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has designated PERC to be a "probable human carcinogen."

It’s clear that PERC poses significant health risks. If not properly handled, PERC can penetrate through nearly any surface, including concrete, and can even seep into groundwater. Dry cleaners are required by federal law to handle PERC as a hazardous waste, and if mishandled, the solvent poses risk to both people and the environment.

During the dry cleaning process, PERC primarily enters the body from inhalation of the vapors. Exposure to high concentrations of PERC can cause:

• Dizziness
• Headaches Loss of consciousness
• Irritated eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory tract
 

dangers-of-perc

While short-term exposure can cause immediate harm, the most common risk to workers at dry cleaning facilities involves long-term exposure via increased risk of cancer. PERC's most dangerous noncancer effect is nerve and brain damage.

Although the dry cleaning industry has improved the control of PERC in recent years, largely through advancements in machine design and equipment technology, PERC remains a dangerous factor not only for workers, but for the environment.

Alternatives to Perc

Although the majority of dry cleaners still use PERC, fortunately, safer and environmentally-friendly alternatives do exist. When used, these cleaning methods are just as effective at cleaning as PERC, but they often require more time, a different expertise, and different equipment which is why the majority of dry cleaners have not switched over. Supporting dry cleaners that use sustainable and safe cleaning methods will help the industry move in the right direction.

Some of the alternatives to PERC present challenges in their own right. While they may be safer for workers and less hazardous to the environment, alternatives like CO2 are not economically feasible for most mom and pop dry cleaning shops. Others options like Propylene-glycol ethers are less toxic but are highly flammable or combustible so they require extra equipment and safety precautions to be used safely.

dry-cleaning

Of the various alternative cleaning methods, the safest, most effective, and most economically feasible option is wet cleaning.

Wet cleaning uses water and soap and utilizes equipment that’s computer-controlled in order to precisely regulate the garment’s exposure to the combination of heat, water, and detergents. Since exposure to water can cause some fabrics to shrink during the cleaning process, the garments are re-shaped using specialized equipment that’s finely-tuned to safely and effectively restore garments to their original shape and size.

Another up-side to wet cleaning: the used wash water doesn’t contain dangerous chemicals or solvents and can therefore be disposed of directly down the drain. Dry cleaning with PERC requires an additional process to recover solvents before disposing of the cleaning byproducts, wet cleaning is the most energy-efficient of PERC alternatives.

dry-cleaning-alternatives

Is Your Dry Cleaner Using PERC?

Given the dangers of PERC and the availability of “greener” cleaning alternatives, it’s well worthwhile to make sure you’re not sending your garments to a dry cleaner that’s exposing people and the environment to risk.

Rinse is committed to working only with cleaning partners who never use PERC and are using safe and sustainable alternatives.

So next time you consider sending your clothes to a dry cleaner that may be using a known toxin and potential carcinogen, ask yourself “is this really worth it?” We believe the answer is a resounding “no”, which is why we try to make it easy for you to make the right choice for yourself and the environment. Learn more about Rinse.

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Rinse Weekly Shoutouts

We love hearing what people have to say about Rinse. Every week, we want to highlight some notable mentions from the people we love hearing from the most.

Here is this week's round up:

"It was a very good experience and exceeded my expectations, good job!” — Scott R.

"Oh wow, that is fantastic! Thank you so much for all your hard work to find a replacement - I really appreciate it! What amazing customer service :)” — Kay C.

"Great service! Love the heads up AM and when delivery is on way! Thank you! 👍🏼 ” — Samuel H.

"You guys were great. I would recommend Rinse to anyone that has a demanding schedule and wants solid predictability and excellent service. ” — Joey F.

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Rinse Weekly Shoutouts
Written by

Arrianne Talma

We love hearing what people have to say about Rinse. Every week, we want to highlight some notable mentions from the people we love hearing from the most.

Here is this week's round up:

“Thank you so much for the update, professionalism, and white-glove service. It makes using Rinse worthwhile.” — Lakeya C.

 

“You guys are running a great business!” — Jackson F.

 

“You guys are awesome! Thanks again for such great service.” — Laura G.

 

“I'll say again: your customer service is fantastic!” — Evan F.

 

I'm telling you, if you live in a big city and you aren't using @Rinse for dry cleaning, you are DOING IT WRONG. #SoEasy #SoClean pic.twitter.com/YvJ7VS6QdM

— Kara Fitz (@KaraMoeyFitz) 

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