An obvious irony of the dry-cleaning industry is its reputation for being one of the biggest sources of pollution, removing stains from clothing but sullying air and groundwater in the process.
Several dry cleaners in the Valley hope to change that image with improved technology, recycling programs and, just as important, aggressive consumer-education programs.
"We're labeled polluters just because we use a solvent," said Mark Witt, president of the Western States Dry Cleaning Launders Association. Witt was referring to perchlorethylene (PCE), the active chemical in most dry-cleaning processes.
If disposed of improperly, the chemical can seep into the ground …