The National : THE NATIONAL Apr - Jun 2013
insufficient volume to be profitable • By any economic theory, the number of businesses should have reduced—but that did not happen. This was a result of many new entrants into drycleaning who believed that they can become millionaires overnight, and with no work on their part. At the same time, “one-price” cleaners have become a major force in a number of U.S. cities. • The housing/mortgage banking driven recession of 2008 had a drastic impact on almost all drycleaners, with 30+ % drops being the rule than the exception, even for good operations • On the laundry side, the 2008 recession had a far less serious impact...some initial drop was seen, but the gradual trend has continued to be upwards. This was particularly obvious to drycleaning plants who had diversified into uniforms and/or linens which kept steady as drycleaning plummeted. • In 2012—the number of plants is in the 24,000 to 28,000 range, and some plants are seeing some slight increases over the prior year. Still, many well run plants are struggling. Drycleaning-Specific Australia • Perc is the overwhelmingly dominant solvent in Australia (~95%). In the U.S. it is now at ~65% and declining • In the U.S., the major regulatory impacts are cleanup of perc contamination, the listing of perc as a likely human carcinogen, and a 10-fold tightening of toxicity standards • The major regulatory impact in Australia appears to be from perc waste disposal/environmental contamination. If a plant location is 20 years old or more, there is a high chance that some contamination exists • Perc will continue to be a viable solvent in Australia for the foreseeable future... but contamination problems will likely increase as time goes on. As consumers seek greener products, perc drycleaning will not be viewed favourably. Laundry-Specific • In both the U.S. and Australia, linen supply/industrial laundries appear to be benefiting from increased service demand in aged and health care, prisons and educational institutions. • In both the U.S. and Australia, it appears that the major regulatory concerns for laundries have been addressed • At this time, carbon and/or boiler stack emissions are of significantly lesser concern in the U.S. Carbon emission issues will likely impact Australian laundries, although the full scope of that impact is yet to be seen SUMMARY If you have a perc location that is more than 20 years old there is a very high chance of contam- ination. And if it ever had perc transfer machines (as we did in the States but which I am assured were never used in Australia) then your chance would be closer to 100%. Normal cleaning and maintenance actions of yesteryear which may have been perfectly legal at that time have results which are now illegal. Bill recalled the IFI had put in a small package drycleaning plant and there was a loss of some 600-700gals of perc that no-one was aware of. Ruptured lines, whatever, it went down in to the sewer, traversed to sanitary sewers that were expected to leak significantly as part of their design. The relatively small amount of perc at their plant all collected in one area. Perc plumes sink below the ground, into groundwater, and can travel a couple of kilometres. While perc will be a viable solvent in the foreseeable future be aware that contamination will become a bigger issue. The NSW “Waste Disposal Brochure” notes jail, fines, etc. for failure to dispose of waste properly, and I urge you not to knowingly dispose of your waste incorrectly. 28 THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL DRYCLEANER & LAUNDERER APRIL MAY JUNE 2013 Covered by Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
THE NATIONAL Jan - Jul 2014
THE NATIONAL Jan - Mar 2013