Article launched 03/04/2007
Clean and green
Move allows firm to upgrade its dry cleaning equipment
By John Ireland/ Business writer
They’re taking "clean and green to the next level at Browns Valley Cleaners. The
company, owned by Nitin Kapadia and his wife Hasika, changed more than locations
when it moved from Browns Valley Parkway to a new, state-
Since 1855, when a French dye-
Perc has its advantages -
But there is also a dark side to perc, one that set off a alarm bells for Kapadia, who spent 17 years as a Public Health chemist with the California Department of Health Services.
"It's a a suspected (human) carcinogen", he said. " It's bad for the environment, bad for the groundwater, and bad for your health."
It was that shopping list of negatives that convinced Kapadia to make the switch
from a chemical-
"The technology came out of the Los Alamos space lab", Kapadia said."Nasa was looking for this kind of technology to clean up sophisticated equipment".
While CO2 cleaning has been used in drycleaning for some three years now, Kapadia said his business is the only one knows of in this part of California that uses it. But not for long. The California Air Resources Board has urged the industry to do away with perc altogether and has set a date of 2020 for this to happen.
"With carbon dioxide, you don't have to worry about any kind of health issue," said
Kapadia, who has known perc to leave residue on clothes and produce skin rashes.
"It's a totally environmentally-
The CO2 is stored as a gas, but it turns into a liquid when subject to high pressure
in the washing machines, where, with the help of a specially-
The liquid CO2 has several advantages over chlorinated hydrocarbons, including the
fact that it safety cleans items that perc can't such as leather, fur and some synthetics.
It also eliminates one out pesky chore that has befuddled men throughout the ages-
Kapadia, whose business held its Grand Opening on Thursday, said its customers have noticed the difference.
"They are happy with the softness of the clothes, and the feeling when they put them
on," he said."(CO2) maintains the natural feel of the clothes -
The word is obviously spreading. Kapadia has hosted a number of fellow dry-
The scientist in Kapadia isn't surprised by the attention the new product is garnering.
"It's my training to look for quality," he said. "And this is a great technology. People should use it."
John Ireland can be contacted at email@example.com
Article launched 03/19/2007
Cleaners at front of green revolution
By Ines Bebea
VACAVILLE — Nitin and Hasika Kapadia, owners of Browns Valley Cleaners in Vacaville, are at the forefront of a revolution that is going to overhaul the dry cleaning industry during the next 15 years.
With their carbon dioxide-
"Our motto is: We take care of your health, and we take care of your clothes," Nitin
Kapadia said. "This is truly green energy, eco-
The state has identified perchloroethylene, also knows as perc, as an air toxic contaminant with a possible link to human carcinogens. It plans to change all dry cleaners into environmentally safe and friendly businesses by 2023.
Understanding the chemistry of how to use carbon dioxide in its liquid form as a cleaning agent wasn’t a stretch of the imagination for Kapadia. After working for 17 years as a chemist with the state Department of Health studying emissions and their effects on the environment, he is excited about a practical use for his scientific knowledge.
"I always knew that I wanted to run my own business," Kapadia said. "But it had to be a business that provided a service and used chemistry as well."
That business opportunity presented itself in 2001 when he opened his first traditional dry cleaner on Browns Valley Parkway in Vacaville. He started keeping up with research regarding environmentally friendly alternatives for dry cleaners. The carbon dioxide technology was developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. When it became available, he made the switch.
"The installation of the equipment cost almost $200,000," Kapadia said. "It’s about four times as much as a regular dry cleaner, but it is a good investment, because it leaves no chemical residue on your clothes, unlike perc."
In addition to leaving chemical residues on your clothes and in the air, perc has to be disposed as a hazardous material. But carbon dioxide on the other hand, simply evaporates once it reaches room temperature and it only leaves the dirt behind.
"People today are armed with information on everything," he said. "Changing the dry cleaning industry will not cause a panic. We were able to move from adding lead to our gasoline, to now using unleaded gasoline because of the proven negative effect on the environment. This is the same concept."
Reach Ines Bebea at 427-
Ten questions: Vacaville cleaners adopt greener methods
By Ian Thompson | Daily Republic | May 02, 2008
1. How long have you been open at your East Monte Vista site?
It's been about a year and four months since we moved from our site near Nugget Market, where we had a more traditional dry cleaning business.
2. When did you start your Web site?
I started it six months ago. It's http://www.brownsvalleycleaners.com.
3. What can customers find on the Web site?
It lets you see what kind of cleaning process we have, that we are eco-
4. What prompted you to go eco-
My background as a chemist with the state Department of Health. I did a lot of research of how the traditional chemicals used in dry cleaning affect us.
5. What has been the result of that research?
It has helped because people have become more aware about their environment.
6. What does eco-
The process involves using pressurized liquid carbon dioxide.
7. Is that rather unique for the area?
Ours is the only business around here I know of that uses it. The state is urging the industry to go this way.
8. Is your eco-
We are getting more and more people. They see that you don't smell any of the chemicals when you get your dry cleaning back. You feel softer clothing.
9. I understand you have a motto. What is it?
We take care of your health, and we take care of your clothes.
10. What is ahead for your business?
I want to keep this up and expand the business.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-