Towards cleaner Dry Cleaning with liquid Carbon Dioxide by eddie5690


									Towards cleaner Dry Cleaning with liquid Carbon
An environmentally-friendly dry cleaning process has been developed within the
DETECTIVE 2000-2004 Life project. A trademark based on the new process was
launched in 2006 and shops are appearing in European towns.
Standard dry cleaning processes are commonly based on the use of perchloroethylene (perc), a
chlorine-containing solvent. This product is harmful for both human health and the environment. Since it
uses this solvent, the dry cleaning industry falls into the scope of the European directive that sets
targets for the reduction of Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) use in industry (The VOC Solvents

                       The European Volatile Organic Compound Solvents Directive
     The VOC Solvents Directive is the main policy instrument for the reduction of industrial emissions of
     volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the European Community. It covers a wide range of solvent-
     using activities, e.g. printing, surface cleaning, vehicle coating, dry cleaning and manufacture of
     footwear and pharmaceutical products. The VOC Solvents Directive establishes emission limit values
     for VOCs in waste gases and maximum levels for fugitive emissions (expressed as a percentage of
     solvent input) for solvent using operators.
     The emission reductions could be achieved by substituting products with a high content of solvents
     with low-solvent or solvent-free products and changing to solvent free production processes.
     See the European Commission website:

The DETECTIVE LIFE project - developing a greener dry cleaning process
Involving partners from five EU Member States, this three year project was designed to assess
feasibility and conduct full scale experiments on alternatives to perc in dry cleaning. Four methods were
tested, especially the use of liquid carbon dioxide (LCO2). Pilot demonstration units in the Netherlands
and Denmark proved the social, environmental and economic benefits of the new method.

    • A safer alternative: LCO2 replaces harmful perc, which is safer for onsite employees.
    • A greener choice: LCO2 enables companies to comply with the VOC solvent directive.
       Replacing perc with LCO2 throughout Europe would eliminate annual emissions of 70,000
       tonnes of perc into the atmosphere. LCO2 is non-toxic and causes no groundwater
       contamination. Moreover, this component is produced in large quantities as a by-product in oil
       refining and ammonia production.
    • Good cleaning properties were obtained by the process. Moreover, the LCO2 based process
       respects fabric shapes and colours better than the conventional process. Fewer textile fibres
       and shiny applications were lost than with conventional cleaning agents. The process is also
       almost twice as fast.
    • A cheaper process: a comprehensive cost analysis showed that the overall costs of LCO2
       textile cleaning are 20% lower than those of perc dry cleaning. This result is mainly due to the
       shorter turnaround time of LCO2 textile cleaning (two cycles per hour compared to two cycles
       per 1.5 hour for perc dry cleaning).

                                                                                                   March 2007
Successful marketing of the new process
The LIFE project also supported the establishment of a franchise textile-cleaning organisation by project
partner Linde Group (a Swedish world-leading industrial gas and engineering company).
To this end, in 2006 Linde group created a specific trademark, Fred Butler®.
In May 2006, the textile cleaning method was awarded the coveted 'Nordic Swan' label, a major eco
label in Europe.
In addition to launching this greener cleaning process in Europe, the company innovated in its
marketing strategy. This fast-growing company represents the first pan-European branch and franchise
system in the textile cleaning sector, in which small independent shops are the usual business form.
The company is now operating in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany with more than 30
shops. Stores are located close to consumers in city centres, shopping areas or as a shop-in-shop
system in department stores and shopping centres. Moreover, it provides specific services such as a
pick-up and return service targeting busy consumers.

                 The first Fred Butler Shop in Germany, located in the banking district of Frankfurt/Main
                                                  PHOTO: Fred Butler

For more information:

    • LIFE DETECTIVE project: see the Best LIFE Environment 2005-2006 brochure.
    • Website of the company using the dry cleaning process:

                                                                                                            March 2007

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