Beacon Cleaners Receives National Award
Beacon Cleaners, a locally owned and operated business, is the 2013 recipient of the Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award, announced the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency (Spokane Clean Air), who submitted the nomination. The national award is given to one small business annually by the National Steering Committee for the Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Beacon Cleaners has a long track record of environmental leadership in Spokane, starting in 1998 when they became the first dry cleaner in Washington to switch from the toxic perchloroethylene “perc” dry cleaning solvent to a hydrocarbon based DF2000 solvent,” stated Margee Chambers, compliance assistance coordinator for Spokane Clean Air.
The DF2000 solvent is a synthetically produced aliphatic hydrocarbon that is used as an alternative to traditional dry cleaning solvents, such as perc. Dry cleaners that use perc must meet stringent air quality and hazardous waste regulations because of the environmental and public health concerns associated with the solvent. To use DF2000, Beacon installed two state-of-the-art Firbimatic dry cleaning machines and significantly reduced their solvent use and waste by-products.
Over the years, as dry cleaning technologies evolved, so did Beacon Cleaners, installing two new technology Ipura Hybrid Class machines by Columbia, which have non-venting systems. The new machines have increased their cleaning efficiency by 90% by using even less solvent and having quicker cycle times. With the new machines, Beacon Cleaners became the first dry cleaner in Spokane County to drop from the hazardous air emissions regulatory requirements. As a result, Beacon Cleaners is not subject to Spokane Clean Air's registration program, which means they do not have to pay annual registration fees or have compliance inspections.
Beacon Cleaners became the first EnviroStars certified dry cleaner in Spokane County in 2011. EnviroStars is a voluntary program that certifies businesses that have demonstrated proper management and reduction of hazardous wastes. Certifications are renewed annually. Beacon Cleaners has recently been raised from 2-star to the highest 5-star certification level. To initially become certified, Beacon Cleaners had to improve the disposal method of the dry cleaning machines separator water. To meet the more stringent standards, Beacon Cleaners designed their own secondary water separator and recovery process.
In 2012, Beacon Cleaners received the Clean Air Award, given annually by Spokane Clean Air to a company that demonstrates innovation, leadership and a strong commitment to reducing air emissions.
With their business growing, Beacon added a third hydrocarbon dry cleaning machine earlier this year - a Gen X Newton Hybrid. The machine is not regulated by Spokane Clean Air because its non-venting system has no hazardous air emissions.
“Beacon is a national role model in making the environment a priority at their business,” stated Margee Chambers. “Spokane Clean Air is pleased that Beacons achievement in sustainability and environmental leadership has been recognized at the national level,” continued Chambers.
The National Steering Committee, representing the Small Business Ombudsman/Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs nationwide, in conjunction with the National Compliance Advisory Panel, established the Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award. The award recognizes an independently owned small business located in the U.S. or territories, which have shown exemplary performance in pollution prevention leadership, industrial environmental leadership, and community environmental leadership.