Wash U Wash institutes sustainable practices

Rory Mather | Contributing Reporter

Student-owned laundry and dry cleaning service Wash U Wash has switched to using eco-friendly cleaning solvents in hopes of aligning with Washington University’s dedication to environmental sustainability.

When the six current owners of Wash U Wash bought the company in 2015, one of their first goals was to push for a greener business model, junior and co-owner Perry Skolnick said.

The Wash U Wash storefront is located on the South 40 between Wydown Water and Bear Cuts. The business recently switched to more environmentally friendly detergent.Kayla Steinberg | Student Life

The Wash U Wash storefront is located on the South 40 between Wydown Water and Bear Cuts. The business recently switched to more environmentally friendly detergent.

In order to do this, he said the business worked with the dry cleaning company it partners with to push for green solvents.

Junior Caleb Diamond, another owner of Wash U Wash, said he doesn’t expect the change to affect the company’s future pricing model.

“It’s a little early to tell if it will affect our profits, but we don’t think it will hurt or help our profit margins. The decision was more of a moral rather than a financial decision,” Diamond said.

This change, however, won’t affect the service’s timeline, Skolnick said, as students should still be able to get their laundry within the current two to three-day time frame.

“This shouldn’t affect turnover rates, and we are actually trying to start projects like dry cleaning delivery to make it even easier for students,” said Skolnick.

The owners added that they have streamlined their internal operations in an effort to be more sustainable, switching from a paper-heavy tagging system to an electronic one.

“The previous owners of the company used to tag each piece of clothing with three different sheets of paper that would all eventually be thrown away. Switching to our electronic system now reduces our tags to just one sheet of paper, reducing waste,” Diamond said.

Wash U Wash is also donating unused plastic hangers to the Trading Post for students to take and reuse, as well as relying on carts to deliver laundry rather than using their van.

Skolnick emphasized that the push for a greener business was just one step in Wash U Wash’s plan to increase sustainability on campus.

“There is a big stigma with [Student Entrepreneurship Program (StEP)] businesses. We want to work with the other businesses and the University to eliminate that and find ways for us to increase efficiency,” said Skolnick.

Wash U Wash has already partnered with multiple StEP businesses, including the Trading Post and U Trucking, and the owners have also started working with Bon Appetit.

In the future, Skolnick said they hope to reach out to more students and to faculty, as well.

“We hope that we can expand and partner with places like [Einstein Bros. Bagels] and Bauer Hall and maybe even work to deliver to faculty. We really want to get creative and work to make it easier for students to get their laundry before we have to sell the company,” he said.