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First Healthy Green Cleaning Garment Shop Opens in Jamaica Plain


  • Carlos Espinoza-Toro, [email protected], (617) 642-5251, Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition
  • Karen Angelo, [email protected], (978) 430-6303, Toxics Use Reduction Institute at UMass Lowell

Boston, MA – J&P Cleaners, the first dry cleaner in Jamaica Plain to make the switch from using perchloroethylene (perc) to professional wet cleaning, will celebrate the grand opening of its shop with a ribbon cutting ceremony open to the public on Thursday, Sept. 11, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at its new location at 300B Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Professional wet cleaning is a proven, effective and safer replacement for perc, a ‘likely human carcinogen’ as characterized by the Environmental Protection Agency.

To help fund the conversion and purchase of the new equipment, the small family-owned business received a $15,000 grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at UMass Lowell and raised more than $18,000 from community members through a Kickstarter crowd sourcing campaign.

Says owner Myra Vargas: “We’ve been in business for 17 years and did not know that perc was harmful until we attended a TURI workshop. We made the commitment to stop using the toxic chemical for the health of our family, employees and customers. We are extremely thankful for the financial help from both TURI and our local community that made it possible for us to move away from using perc.”

Model Small Business Successful Without Toxic Chemicals

J&P Cleaners is the ninth dry cleaner across Massachusetts that has made the switch to 100 percent professional wet cleaning with the help of a TURI grant.

“We are thrilled that J&P Cleaners has taken a major step toward protecting health and the environment while proving that small family businesses can be sustainable leaders in the community,” says Joy Onasch, TURI Community and Small Business Program Manager.

Carlos Espinoza-Toro, director of Community Organizing of Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JP NET), helped the owners of J&P Cleaners find the safer alternative and raise funds to make the transition.

“J&P Cleaners is a successful example of how traditional livelihood businesses in Boston can go green and flourish,” says Espinoza-Toro. “We are hopeful that their accomplishments will have a ripple effect within our neighborhood so that other businesses can be more aware and take action to stop using cancer-causing chemicals without jeopardizing their businesses.”