Local laundry is clean, green | VailDaily.com

Local laundry is clean, green

Bret Hartman/Vail DailyEric Goldman, owner of Natural Cleaners in Avon, has one of only 10 cleaning companies in the country using a combination of carbon dioxide and water to clean clothes, instead of chemicals and petroleum products.

It’s easy being green.

Walk in the front door of Natural Cleaners, a dry cleaning and laundry service in Avon. The granite countertops sit atop a counter made of compress wheat stalks and the laminate is bamboo, both renewable resources. Notice the smell ” there isn’t any. There are three restaurants and a dentist’s office in the same building and they can’t smell anything either.

The system uses only carbon dioxide and water to do its work ” no chemicals and no petroleum products.

Only 10 of these systems exist in the United States ” 15 in the world ” and Eric Goldman has one of them.

“This is a traditionally dirty business that we’re running clean,” said Goldman.

The entire process uses substances found in nature, carbon dioxide and water, and besides clean clothes and satisfied customers, turns out nothing much more than steam.

Ed Swinford, a Realtor with Slifer, Smith and Frampton, likes the service, likes the cost and likes the fact that it’s a green business in what can be a polluting industry.

“I’ve used others and they’re convenient but inconsistent. I need this kind of consistency. Also, being green matters so I decided to give it a try. I like it so far.”

It’s pretty simple and has three basic components: a carbon filter that cleans the carbon dioxide, the machine where your clothes are cleaned and a distiller that pressurizes the CO2 and shoots it back through the system. More than 90 percent is reused. Even if it leaks, which it doesn’t, the only substance to escape would be dry ice.

The CO2 they use is food quality ” you can drink it, and in fact some nearby folks do. The delivery guy drops off a load of carbon dioxide to Natural Cleaners then goes next door to Finnegan’s Wake and drops a load of the same stuff.

“You can carbonate your beer with it,” Goldman said.

It’s the only recognizd by the EPA as clean, which means they don’t need an EPA permit to do it, Goldman said.

The equipment runs on steam and air. The steam-maker is 91 percent efficient ” 91 percent of the energy that goes into it comes out as steam. The hot water system is 98.7 percent efficient.

The carbon dioxide technology came out of Sandia Labs, the White Sands, N.M. folks who lasy awake nights thinking up new applications for nuclear energy. Whether they got tired of laundering their shirts the old fashioned way is unknown, but they were tossing around a bunch of other ideas when their light bulbs went on for this one, said Sandia’s Michael Padilla.

It’s called Gensys cleaning systems, marketed by Alliance Systems.

Everything that’s pressed is pressed with steam and air pressure from the inside out. No more broken or mashed buttons.

They’ve been going full throttle for about 10 week with business picking up almost by the day. Wander in and you’re likely to find someone you know.

“I’m running it the way I think it should be run,” said Goldman.

Vail, Colorado

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