GreenEarth Cleaning’s Mission – Be Kind to Mother Earth
By Michelle Halferty
The color of the front door of GreenEarth Cleaning in Martin City is symbolic – it’s green. The building at 51 W. 135th St. is the world headquarters to a staff of 11 employees, plus six remote employees handling marketing, sales and tech support. These GreenEarth employees work daily to refine and spread the word about GreenEarth Cleaning’s efforts to provide sustainable, environmentally non-toxic technology to thousands of dry cleaners around the world. As a result, around 500 million pounds of clothes have been cleaned using the GreenEarth Cleaning system during the franchise’s 20 years in business.
GreenEarth Cleaning was founded in 1999 by Jim Barry and Ron Benjamin, both from Kansas City, and Jim Douglas from Sacramento. The founders recognized a growing need for an alternative to traditional dry cleaning. They searched for a method that would use less energy, fewer chemicals, be gentler on clothes and less harmful to the environment.
Roughly 85 percent of dry cleaners use a petroleum-based solvent known as perc, classified by the EPA as a Toxic Air Contaminant. Perc can contaminate soil and groundwater upon careless disposal and has been implicated in several serious health conditions. By contrast, GreenEarth’s exclusive dry cleaning process replaces perc with 100 percent pure D5 liquid silicone, an odorless, colorless solution that is gentle on fabric. When released back into the environment, it safely degrades back to its three natural components: sand, water and carbon dioxide.
Beyond the lobby area of the GreenEarth headquarters in Martin City is the “test area” area where clothing is laundered in a special machine for evaluation purposes. GreenEarth Cleaning works with several high-profile fashion designers who gladly send in sample clothing for testing. This allows GreenEarth to ensure that its process is safe and effective regardless of fabric types or delicate embellishments, such as paints, dyes, specialty trims, beads, or sequins.
The stairway to the upper level, where there are mostly offices, is decorated with plaques representing a very small sample of GreenEarth’s nearly 2000 affiliates (dry cleaners that use the GreenEarth system) located world-wide. Nature’s Touch Cleaners, a GreenEarth Cleaning affiliate, is also located in Martin City at 13143 State Line Rd.
One of the upstairs offices is occupied by Michael Means with Prestige Preservation, which handles wedding gown preservation.
The company is now focused on addressing microplastics. When garments containing polyester are laundered, millions of microplastic fibers are released into the world’s wastewater treatment systems and in turn endanger our oceans’ ecosystems.
“We are a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and we want to be a part of the solution to this problem. We are currently testing ways to filter the microplastic fibers out of the discharge from washing machines used to launder (rather than dry clean) clothing so that these fibers are never released in the first place,” said Ron Benjamin, Co-Founder and Managing Director of GreenEarth Cleaning. It is the company’s goal to make all garment care safe for environmental friendly.
A wealth of information, including the location of affiliates who use GreenEarth products in the Kansas City area and beyond, can be found at www.greenearthcleaning.com.