German company pitches greener drycleaning to U.S.

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A family-owned German chemical producer with a relatively low profile in the United States is moving aggressively into U.S. territory.

Kreussler GmbH, a company that’s dominant in the European dry-cleaning industry, describes its new, green solvent, SystemK4—or SK4 for short—as being “innovative, environmentally friendly, nontoxic, biodegradable, and safe for ground, water, and humans.”

“We feel very strongly that this is historically our opportunity to change the industry and move it away from halogenated common solvents in many dry-cleaning establishments currently,” said Richard Fitzpatrick, vice president for operations at Tampa, Florida-based Kreussler Inc., the U.S. distribution, sales, and technical support arm for its German parent’s dry cleaning, wet cleaning, and commercial cleaning products.

Kreussler, which has led the European dry-cleaning market since 1985, has been awarded the German patent for SK4. An international patent is pending.

This move by Kreussler into the U.S. marketplace represents a major diversification for the company, whose main activity in the textile industry has been producing detergents, additives, and other support products for major dry-cleaning solvents available from other sources.

For years, the choices for consumers have been among an array of so-called “environmentally” friendly solvents cleaners can use—including perchloroethylene, or perc, the industry standard used in 80 percent of dry cleaners. An estimated 20,000 perc dry-cleaning machines are in use throughout the United States.

“Our goal is to replace perc as the industry standard within 10 years by demonstrating that SK4 offers the same or better performance in terms of cleaning and ease of use while providing safe and environmentally friendly operations,” Fitzpatrick said. “All this with lower operating costs and a healthier workplace.” Some types of dry-cleaning machines can be converted to use SK4, but perc machines cannot for technical reasons, Fitzpatrick explained.

  • Kevin said,

    It’s great to see and hear about more environmentally friendly products and practices being used within our industry. We’ve taken strides into becoming a more environmentally conscious and have had success in doing so.

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