Written By Rick Siegel
Originally Published in American Drycleaner
CHICAGO — I confess: I was once about as eco-unfriendly as you could get. I drove a gas-guzzling car, believed a light off was a light wasted, and even though the City of Los Angeles provided me with the appropriate bins, I couldn’t be bothered to separate my recyclables. What impact could one person have, anyway?
Even my initial interest in reusable drycleaning bags had nothing to do with being “green.” It was about eliminating the aggravation of the drycleaning experience.
You see, I’m 200-and-a-lot-of pounds; I should be able to rumble with a twist-tie. But every time I’d reach for one shirt and pull out six, I’d end up in a knock-down, drag-out fight with one of those little rascals—and lose every time. I had a floor full of garment covers, and a garbage can in my closet just for the plastic. And since I’d never heard of a VIP bag, every time I couldn’t find a shirt or tie I was sure I’d dropped it in my drycleaner’s parking lot.
A reusable drycleaning bag, I realized, could eliminate those hassles. And in researching the feasibility of making the manufacturing of reusable bags a business, I realized how important it is that I do something, however small, to make the world a little bit neater.
What helped me become the Green Garmenteer? Information such as that found on Indiana’s state website, which says that if every Indiana household cleaned 200 garments a year, 9,466 tons of single-use poly would find its way into landfills. And since Indiana has just over 2% of the country’s population, it equates to more than 450 million pounds of plastic in U.S. landfills and waterways annually. Working to lessen that figure seemed like a noble calling.
Creating The Green Garmento has made my wife, Jennie, and I try to be “greener” in every way. We’re now searching for a hybrid or very fuel-efficient car; we take shorter showers and avoid watering the lawn; we turn off lights and use “ecofriendly” cleaning products. We buy fewer and fewer single-use products every day.
I don’t mean to preach, but maybe you, like me, will find there’s nothing awful about putting your soda can in the recycling bin, lowering the thermostat a degree or two, or using a reusable water bottle—nothing earth-shattering, but something that might keep the earth from shattering if we all do it.