The Cleanery is New Mexico’s only Green Business Bureau-certified dry cleaner. Its green practices not only have helped the company to avoid many of the environmental and health concerns associated with using traditional dry-cleaning methods, but also have earned it widespread recognition as an industry leader and strengthened its ties with the community in and around Albuquerque.
As people become increasingly aware of the toxic chemicals traditionally used in the dry-cleaning process, consumer demand for safer yet equally effective methods is growing. The chemical typically used as a dry-cleaning solvent, perchloroethylene (PCE or perc), has been deemed a hazardous air polluter by the EPA. The Cleanery found that green alternatives could match perc’s cleaning properties without harming the environment. “We weren’t going to jeopardize our quality of service with a product that couldn’t hold up,” says Kurt Lucero, president of the Cleanery.
Energy-conservation practices enabled the Cleanery to implement its green initiatives without raising its prices. Measures such as re-insulating steam lines and installing a return tank heat exchanger can reduce energy expenses by increasing equipment performance efficiency. “When we installed the technology, we were looking to save money,” Lucero says, adding that, by greening its operations, the company has realized savings of “about 75 percent of our steam and boiler energy, and hazardous waste output has decreased by 75 percent as well.”
Lucero says that going green — or demonstrating the company’s commitment to innovative practices and to the health of the local environment — has been an integral part of growing the Cleanery’s brand. “We are determined to do our part for our community and the environment,” he asserts. As a result, the Cleanery consistently ranks in the top 1 percent of America’s Best Cleaners, a certification organization for the dry-cleaning industry. And Albuquerque residents have voted the dry cleaner as the “Best in the City” four times since 2005.
Going green like the Cleanery can help to define your business as an industry and community leader — and set it apart from the competition.