Pacific Heights Cleaners
Sausalito and San Francisco
In 2009, ZBC recognized Karl Huie, owner of Pacific Heights Cleaners of Sausalito and San Francisco, for taking a leadership role in promoting the health of the community. His business, Pacific Heights Cleaners, is Marin's first and only Certified Green Dry Cleaner, an official designation by the County of Marin. In addition, Pacific Heights Cleaners is a demonstration site for a statewide program.
Karl grew up in the garment cleaning business. His parents started Pacific Heights Cleaners of San Francisco in 1969 and later bought Sunshine Cleaners in Sausalito. He took over the family business in 1986. Karl began researching nontoxic alternatives to perchloroethylene, known as perc, a chemical cleaning solvent used by most dry cleaners. The chlorine-based solvent has been linked to a number of health risks, including breast cancer. In 2008, Karl Huie made the switch to a nontoxic wet cleaning procedure and purchased computer-controlled washers and dryers. The investment in new garment cleaning equipment was substantial, but it was offset by the savings associated with hazardous waste removal and regulatory fees. More importantly, he made the switch for the health of his employees and customers and for the environment.