With such a high turnaround of services and reliance on resources, it’s a challenge to make the dry cleaning industry gentler on the environment. But it’s by no means impossible. Will Lankston, Global Director of Jeeves of Belgravia, explains what we have been doing as a business to reduce our dependence on plastic.
It’s been well-documented in recent years that plastic is a great enemy of the natural world. Being such a cost-effective and ubiquitous material, the problem of waste plastic is one that transcends geographies.
Sadly, you’re as likely to find a plastic bag floating in the middle of the Atlantic as you are in the Thames. This makes it an issue that affects us all globally and one we can all play a part in alleviating.
As a business, we at Jeeves of Belgravia understand this task and take it very seriously. Our customers are more concerned than ever about the effects of plastic on the environment. Some of the subjects we’ve discussed with them include the contamination of local waterways, plastic litter on our streets and microplastics entering the foodchain.
We know that they’re working hard on an individual level to reduce their reliance on plastic and ensure they dispose of it correctly. But we don’t believe it is fair for the onus to be completely on their efforts. Additionally, our customers may not have access to suitable recycling facilities. It can be a challenge to know whether and how they can dispose of certain types of plastic.
As a business and indeed an industry, we need to act. It is our duty to reduce plastic consumption and, in turn, the volume that ends up in standard household waste bins.
Our efforts to reduce plastic usage
To lower the likelihood of our businesses’ waste plastic ending up in the eco-system, we’re taking steps to reduce our dependence on it.
The dry cleaning industry typically uses a lot of polythene. It provides a dry, secure covering for customers’ clothes after cleaning and during transport. This is where we started when looking to remove plastics from our processes.
In the last 18 months, we’ve made a lot of progress. Firstly, we removed disposable clothes bags from the business and switched to reusable bags. Instead of discarding after single use, our customers can now keep and re-use them, as they do with eco shoppers.
We’ve also started the process of exchanging plastic wrapping with sustainable paper. These small steps have already significantly reduced the amount of plastic we order and use across our business. And this is only the beginning.
Our upcoming environmental initiatives
From summer 2020, we plan to completely remove all single-use plastic from our dry cleaning and laundry methods. Our teams have been working hard to source sustainable alternative materials and after a lot of research and investigation, we’re on track to achieve this.
Additionally, our wider environmental initiatives are also progressing well. Investing in new technology has already reduced our energy consumption. We’ve also started to transition our van fleet from traditional diesel to electric vans.
Working towards meaningful change
To conclude, it’s our belief that businesses like our own must do all they can to contribute positive change. It’s also my belief that any significant and meaningful change must come from the top and run through the heart and values of a business. Plastic in particular is an issue that should be high on the agenda. Not for individual businesses alone, but for the dry cleaning industry as a whole.
We look forward to providing updates on our efforts to change our relationship with and reduce our reliance upon plastic.