TORONTO, Ontario — Toronto-based Glenforest Cleaners is converting entirely to wetcleaning this week in advance of a recommended phase-out of perchloroethylene use. The city’s Board of Health asked Environment Canada to allow it to seek a full phase-out of perc in May, and is likely to ban perc use in colocated facilities soon.
The conversion began one week ago, and Glenforest will soon reopen as a 100% wetcleaning operation. “We are not going to make our customers wait to see how their health issues will be negotiated,” says Alex Zachos, Glenforest owner. “I will give the public solvent-free, professional garment care now.”
Glenforest will use the SMART Wet Cleaning System marketed by Ontario’s Solvent Free Solutions, which uses nontoxic chemicals from Winning Brands Corp., Miele machinery and Veit tensioning finishing equipment. The system has proved effective on cruise ships and land-based operations alike, the company says, on more than 1 million garments so far.
“A few years ago, the industry said [cleaning clothes in water] couldn’t be done,” says Solvent Free Solutions’ Jim Giddings. “Then, gradually, skeptics thought that it might be possible, but only for a limited number of garments. Now, finally, well-informed people in the industry realize that successfully converted sites operating under real-world conditions are making skeptics sound a bit out of touch.”