We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
Tony Hayward, chief executive officer of
British-owned oil giant BP, appeared before the U.S. Senate Energy
and Natural Resources Committee today.
Looking dapper in a tailored Savile Row navy pinstripe suit and
sporting his distinctive look - baby face, pale complexion,
rosy cheeks and tussled brown hair - Hayward testified that BP's
deep water oil drilling technology was "environmentally friendly",
and that the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill posed "no toxic risk" to
the environment, whether it be sea life in the Gulf or animal, bird
and plant habitats on the coastal wetlands of Louisiana,
Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
When questioned by Committee Chairman, Jeff Bingaman (D - New
Mexico) about his "environmentally friendly" and "no toxic risk"
comments, Hayward admonished Bingaman to "chill out", and explained
that the crude oil contains carbon, that anything that contains
carbon is "organic", and that anything "organic" must be "good." So
it's logical that crude oil (even a crude oil spill) must be
Sounds insane, doesn't it? Well, it is. That's because I just
made this all up.
But that's the EXACT rationale dry cleaners use to justify
cleaning in synthetic petroleum solvent (it's "environmentally
friendly"). And that's the EXACT justification they use for
marketing their synthetic petroleum dry cleaning solvent (it's
Here's some background ...
Many dry cleaners are now proclaiming themselves to be "organic
Clearly, these cleaners are attempting to
capitalize on the public perception that "organic" equals "safe."
That, in much the same way that organic foods equal "safe for
consumption" and "safe for the environment", organic drycleaning
similarly equals "safe for fine garments" and "safe for the
Here's my position on the use of the term "organic drycleaning":
it's a deceptive and misleading business practice.
Consciously and intentionally deceptive and
There are three things you need to know about "organic
Here's why ...
99.9% of all cleaners in the USA use one of three primary
drycleaning solvents or fluids:
97% of all cleaners clean in perc and/or synthetic petroleum.
BOTH perc and synthetic petroleum are ORGANIC SOLVENTS BY VIRTUE OF
THE FACT THAT THEY BOTH CONTAIN THE CHEMICAL ELEMENT CARBON. That's
a basic -- and indisputable - fact of chemistry. Accordingly,
almost every cleaner in the USA can proclaim themselves an "organic
Truth is, both perc and synthetic petroleum are volatile organic
compounds (VOCs), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
classifies them as Toxic Air Contaminants. As such, they are
strictly regulated at the federal, state and local level -- both in
how they're used and how they're disposed of.
Given that almost every cleaner in North America can claim to be
an "organic drycleaner", why are some cleaners resorting to using
the "organic drycleaning" hook?
I can only speculate ...
No drycleaning industry standards
There are no drycleaning industry standards governing the use of
the term "organic".
Contrast this to the agricultural and meat products industries.
For most of us, organic has come to mean
In 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced
strict standards for labeling food as organic, primarily to stamp
out the rampant abuse of the term "organic" in the marketplace. You
can see the impact of these standards for yourself by studying the
labels on products in the organic section of your local
I predict that "organic" personal care products (shampoos,
conditioners, moisturizing creams, lipsticks, etc.), "organic"
cleaning agents (dishwashing liquids, all purpose cleaners, etc.)
and "organic" services (drycleaning, carpet cleaning, maid service,
etc.) will be similarly regulated in the near future.
Lack of understanding of basic
Organic chemistry, in general, and stain removal chemistry, in
particular, is clearly a mystery to those operating under the
"organic drycleaning" banner. There again, why bother with such
technical knowledge when your entire operation is geared to getting
garments into a machine, onto a press, and into a bag. ASAP.
They're in by 9:00 and out by 5:00; or picked up on day 1 and
delivered on day 3.
Substitute for "alternative to perc"
It's quite possible that those cleaners using the term "organic
drycleaning" are merely searching for a catchy phrase to describe
the fact that they do not clean in perchloroethylene (aka perc or
If this is true, the term "organic drycleaning" is nothing more
than green washing, a term used to describe the act of
misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a
company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
More specifically, the term "organic drycleaning" commits all
the seven sins of greenwashing: the sin of the
hidden trade off; the sin of no proof; the sin of vagueness; the
sin of irrelevance; the sin of fibbing; the sin of the lesser of
two evils; and the sin of worshiping false labels.
Overwhelming competitive pressures
Ordinary cleaning is a highly competitive business. Apart from
fast turnaround, low prices, convenient location and broad smiles,
most cleaners offer little to separate themselves from their
competition down the street or across town. Organic drycleaning may
be their attempt to do just that.
Opportunity to raise (unjustifiably) prices
To deal with rising labor and supply costs, many ordinary
cleaners have cut costs to the bone. So they've had to look for
ways to raise revenue by raising prices.
But it's not easy to raise prices, particularly in this economic
environment. So they've come up with a novel strategy: we'll call
our dry cleaning "organic", appeal to the environmentally conscious
customer, and raise our prices by 10% to 15%. After all, according
to a 2008 GfK Roper Consulting/Yale University study half of study
respondents reported that they would "definitely or probably pay
15% more for an eco-friendly laundry detergent." And if they'll pay
more for "an eco-friendly" detergent, why won't they pay more for
"eco-friendly" dry cleaning?
The question remains
The big question is this: Are these cleaners using the term
"organic drycleaning" because they're afraid to disclose that they
still clean your fine garments in a toxic, environmentally
hazardous solvent -- only now it's manufactured by Exxon Mobil (DF
2000) or Conoco Phillips (EcoSolv) instead of Dow Chemical
(Dowper)? Or are they using the term simply to pull the wool over
the eyes of an uninformed and gullible public?
"Organic drycleaning": fact or con? You be the judge.
How can I help you?
Print, share or save this blog post
Subscribe to our rss feed.
Copyright 2009, Rave Fabricare. All Rights ReservedInternet Marketing Agency