We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
Last night, the TV industry honored their best at
the 62nd Primetime Emmy Award ceremony.
One aspect of this year's event peaked my interest: the event
organizers emphasized sustainable practices in every facet of
the production. So much so that they even collected and
returned to their dry cleaner all the poly bags used to protect the
garments of attendees and staff.
Sounds like the event organizers invested some time talking to
their dry cleaner.
I'd bet that the event organizers bought the claim that those
poly bags were "recyclable" or "biodegradable." The truth, however,
is probably far different.
First of all, it's important to understand that there's a huge
difference between conventional poly, biodegradable poly and
Conventional poly is used by the vast majority of cleaners.
Conventional poly cannot be recycled by a recycling
Furthermore, conventional poly does not break down (i.e.,
biodegrade) in a landfill or breakdown (i.e., degrade) in the
environment. That's because conventional poly is composed of
petroleum-based materials called resins that are resistant to
biodegradation or degradation.
Bottom line: Conventional poly is not recyclable. Conventional poly
is not biodegradable. Conventional poly is not degradable. When
buried in a landfill, conventional poly may degrade in 100 to 500
Some cleaners claim that their poly is "biodegradable."
Like conventional poly, biodegradable poly cannot be recycled by
a recycling facility.
In order to transform conventional poly into biodegradable poly,
manufacturers add a special, patented additive to the resin during
manufacture - an additive that is a food source for bacteria, fungi
The problem, however, is that biodegradable poly must be buried
in a biologically active environment (such as a landfill) in order
to degrade. Let's put this another way: biodegradable poly will
NEVER degrade UNLESS it's buried in a biologically active
environment (such as a landfill).
And even if the biodegradable poly is buried in a biologically
active environment, biodegradation may take far longer than the
advertised 5 years. That's because the speed of biodegradation
depends on a number of factors, including:
Here's the summary on biodegradable poly:
With biodegradable poly, biodegradation depends on the poly
being buried in a biologically active environment (such as a
landfill), depends on direct contact with microorganisms and/or
other materials that are themselves biodegrading in the landfill,
produces methane gas, and can take up to 5 years to biodegrade.
Degradable poly is used by a few cleaners.
Unlike conventional poly or biodegradable poly, degradable poly
can be recycled by a recycling facility.
With degradable poly, degradation depends on light, heat or air,
does not require burial in a biologically active
environment (such as a landfill), does not depend
on direct contact with microorganisms and/or other materials that
are themselves biodegrading in the landfill, produces no methane
gas, and breaks down in less than 2 years.
At RAVE FabriCARE, we only use degradable poly. Probably the
only drycleaner in the metro Phoenix area using degradable
Those of you who are environmentally conscious, know that you
can't take environmental claims at face value. That it's important
to do the research and fact check those claims.
Claims made by dry cleaners regarding their poly bags is another
example of claims that ought to be carefully examined.
The reality is that "recyclable poly" isn't recyclable and that
"biogradable poly" almost never biodegrades. Dry cleaners who make
such claims are not necessarily trying to pull the wool over your
eyes. They probably just don't know any better.
Back to those poly bags collected at the Emmy Awards and
returned to the dry cleaner for "recycling". I'd bet they're now
sitting in a dumpster somewhere in Los Angeles.
How can I help you?
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