Plastic and the drycleaning industry has long been a concern of mine. More so than the solvents - In my opinion. Solvent is 99% recycled in drycleaning, and the remaining 1% should be hauled off and properly disposed. In a home washer, all the water goes straight down the drain along with the soils and detergents. This opinion is arguable, but it's my opinion.
Single use plastic on the other hand, that really concerns me. I have noticed lots of drycleaner using plastic bags with the "ECO" printed on them. This also concerns me.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. . . . . writing ECO on something really doesn't do anything.
I am providing here the breakout (pro and con) of the options available. One option I am not providing is giving back the clothes without protection. I know this is the best option. . . . and it is how it was done before about the 1950's. The cleaner would remove the clothes from the hanger, and hand it to the customer without a bag! Amazing!
-- Biodegradable: Not available in the drycleaning industry. Corn based and not crystal clear. May degrade on the clothes even if it were avail.
-- Degradable: Available and many cleaners are using it. Plastic breaks down into fine particles, then is around for 100,000s of years. NOT RECYCLABLE!
-- Reusable mesh garment bags: Pricey, and not cleanable. Most of these bags are advertised as environmental, "Bring in your dirty clothes, then convert it to a garment bag" Well, They are really disposable because they are not woven and therefore not cleanable. They also tend to tear, causing damage and lost clothing.
-- Recycling: You need to find a manufacturer who will use the product. At a recent business meeting our local trash hauling company made the public statement that "There are currently NO manufacturers using film plastic, so all film plastic is being put in a landfill". ---
THANKFULLY I did some research and that is not true. There is a market for film plastic, mostly in China. I found a manufacturer in Nevada that would purchase film plastic from my facility directly. I have decided that this is currently the best option. I am installing a bailer next month and will be actively collecting film plastic from all the cleaners and dryclean customers in town.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about film plastic:-)