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How green is your dry cleaning?

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During a year, my dry cleaning needs are quite minor. Most everything in fabric in our household is washable at home. However, our down duvets go to the dry cleaners on a regular basis. For a number of years now, we have taken them to Dollar Wise Quality Cleaners. The duvets come back in reusable, breathable, zipped packaging.

Dollar Wise opened in May 1998, and now has depots around Winnipeg and two full service plants. The closest branch to me is in a tiny strip mall at Pembina and Bairdmore. It opened in this location in 2013, moving from a tailor shop a few blocks away.

We switched to Dollar Wise because the company uses ProZolv (DrySolv in the U.S.) as a cleaner. This solvent does not deplete the ozone layer or contribute to global warming. Also, it needs lower temperatures and shorter dry cleaning times which benefit the clothing. The company advertises that it is Winnipeg’s only 100% green dry cleaner.

As well, in 2009 the firm designed and manufactured a 100% environmentally friendly laundry detergent called ZOP.

I spoke with Shane Johnston,Dollar Wise general manager, a few weeks ago. He summed up the whole process for customers by saying, "You’re not wearing or sleeping on chemicals." That’s the big draw for our family.

Besides individual customers, the company has corporate ones such as Red River College, University of Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro, University of Manitoba and many others including hotels.

Apart from the "green" aspect of this business, another facet that appeals to me is the amount of community involvement Dollar Wise takes part in. For example, it participates in clothing programs with Osborne House, Siloam Mission, and Winnipeg Big Brothers and Sisters. Drop-off bins for used clothing are found at company branches.

When I spoke with Johnston, the company’s service vehicle that runs on recycled vegetable oil was off the road for repairs. The company also sponsors the Wheely Green Bike Taxi to encourage alternative transportation.

In addition to dry cleaning your typical clothing, Dollar Wise also cleans furs, bedding, drapery, rugs, leather and wedding gowns. Alterations and clothing repair services are provided, as is odour removal such as skunk spray.

Its paper recycling program is another plus in my view. The company's used paper is shredded and donated to the Winnipeg Humane Society. All Dollar Wise invoices are printed on recycled paper.

Dollar Wise also sells environment-friendly garment bags.

This is a company that believes in protecting the environment, doing the right thing for its customers, and being pro-active in support of the Winnipeg community.

When spring arrives, I’ll be at Dollar Wise's door with our duvets for cleaning.


Jeannette Timmerman is a community correspondent for Fort Richmond.

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