Mass. State House Ceremony Honors Wet Cleaners

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Ernesto Vargas (right), owner of J&P Cleaners, Boston (Jamaica Plain), Mass., accepts the “Small Business Champion” award from Michael Ellenbecker, director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell. (Photo: TURI)

Staff Writer |

J&P Cleaners Named ‘Small Business Champion’

BOSTON — Massachusetts state legislators joined the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) program on June 16 to present the 2015 Champions of Toxics Use Reduction Awards that recognize “outstanding leaders who are making the Commonwealth a safer place to live and work.”

“These leaders are models for others in the Commonwealth and the nation for finding innovative solutions that reduce toxic chemical use at the source,” says Michael Ellenbecker, director of the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell. “They prove that protecting the environment, health and safety can promote economic growth.”

The program named nine businesses and two small-business groups, including the Professional Wet Cleaning Workgroup, as TURA 25th Anniversary Leaders. The workgroup is comprised of nine Massachusetts dry cleaners that have switched from perc to professional wet cleaning.

They are AB Cleaners, Westwood; Ace Cleaners, North Andover; Art’s Cleaners, Westborough; Best Neighborhood Cleaners, Medford; King & Queen Cleaners, Milford; KMK Cleaners, Walpole; Mr. John’s Cleaners, Everett; J&P Cleaners, Jamaica Plain; and Silver Hanger Cleaners, Bellingham.

Additionally, J&P Cleaners, owned by Ernesto Vargas, was named the program’s “Small Business Champion.” It switched to professional wet cleaning in summer 2014 with the help of a TURI grant. Last month, the family-owned business demonstrated the technology to other Massachusetts dry cleaners to encourage them to eliminate the use of perc.

Throughout the year, TURI accepts grant applications from dry cleaners across the Commonwealth seeking financial assistance in their conversion to wet cleaning.

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