Minneapolis to recognize dry cleaners switching from toxic ‘perc’

This year, the City of Minneapolis will offer two grants up to $20,000 each to help dry cleaning businesses switch away from using the toxin perchloroethylene – also known as “perc” – in their processes. The dry cleaning industry has taken steps in the past few decades to eliminate the risk of perc contamination in our air, land and water. Minneapolis is striving to be the first city to help dry cleaners eliminate perc on a completely voluntary basis. Perc is the main chemical solvent used in dry cleaning and is a neurotoxin that causes kidney damage and is listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a likely carcinogen.

At its April 4 Regulatory, Energy & Environment Committee meeting, the City will recognize nine Minneapolis dry cleaners that have already converted their processes to be perc-free. The nine businesses are Avestopolis Cleaners, Colonial Cleaners, Hiawatha Cleaners & Launderers, Mulberry’s Garment Care, Peter Pan Dry Cleaners, Prestige Cleaning Center, Sew Biz Tailoring, Uptown Cleaners and White Way Cleaners.

Last year the City of Minneapolis launched the Green Business Matching Grant program. In 2012 the program offered one matching grant to a dry cleaning business to remove perc from its processes. Avestopolis Cleaners won the grant. With a private business investment of $70,000, funded in part through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Small Business Environmental Improvement Loan Program, Avestopolis Cleaners is now perc-free.

Perc is becoming more strictly regulated, both federally and in some local jurisdictions. In Minneapolis, the City’s goals are to assist dry cleaners in making this switch to help our businesses stay competitive and improve the environmental health of the city. There are two grants, up to $20,000 each, available to dry cleaners in 2013. Dry cleaners can complete a grant application (pdf), which is due May 3. 

This program is a partnership with the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program, Environmental Initiative, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the Minnesota Retiree Environmental Technical Assistance Program, and the Community Environmental Advisory Commission. For more information on this program, please contact Patrick Hanlon, City of Minneapolis environmental services supervisor, at 612-673-2319.

Published Apr 3, 2013