Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 23 April 2010 00:00
Forty years ago, the United States declared April 22 as Earth Day – a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth‘s environment. Over the past decade, Americans have become more environmentally conscious by recycling, reusing and reducing – especially when it comes to plastic waste.
In June 2009, Hicksville resident Tonia Torrellas started It’s My B, Inc., a company that manufactures reusable dry cleaner bags. By replacing the single-use plastic bags commonly used with reusable ones made of vinyl and nylon, Torrellas’ goal is to bring a reusable product to the cleaning service industry.
“As a suburban environmentally conscious consumer, I became frustrated with using throw away single use plastic bags,” Torrellas said.
With many dry cleaners already offering organic services and recycling hangers, Torrellas is hopeful her bags will be the next phase to making the cleaning service industry more earth friendly.
“I believe the reusable concept has a place in the cleaning service industry just as it is showing to be the case with other industries and local merchants,” she said.
According to CNBC.com, the It’s My B dry cleaning bag is “Cool New Green Gear” that does double duty. The vinyl bag serves a both a “portable hamper to drop off clothes at the dry cleaner” and also “unfolds into a garment bag to bring the clothes back home … eliminating the need for conventional plastic wrapping,” states the website.
Torrellas said the basic design was formulated from what she would want available in a bag and a prototype was made. “It was then brought around to a variety of dry cleaners and a broad spectrum of potential consumers to get feedback from them as well,” she said, adding that local dry cleaners, including Steve’s Valet in Merrick, R&J Cleaners in Hicksville and Casa Cleaners in Manhattan played roles in helping her create the initial design and functionality of the bags.
The hamper feature makes the bag perfect for use not only in a home closet but also for travel to and from the office, gym or on vacation. “Basically, it works wherever you are. All you need to do is hang the bag in the closet or on a hook behind a door and gather right from that position,” she said, adding, “The dirty clothes go within the framework of the bag while a completely separate area for your cleaned clothes was created. As a nurse, I learned not to mix ‘dirties with cleans.’”
Since the bag holds your clothes when they are transported to the cleaner, Torrellas said consumers would be less likely to forget the bag, which will help reduce the number of plastic bags the dry cleaner needs to use. Dry cleaning customers would leave the bag with their clothes; there is an invoice pocket for their ticket and a space to personalize.
Torrellas said that she owes a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who has given support to what she believes to be “a worthy venture of working towards achieving her company’s overall goal, which is ‘Reducing Single-Use-Plastic – One-Reusable-Item-at-a-Time’ and plans to develop other day-to-day reusable items. This company was formulated to eventually be a sort-of “one-stop-shopping” for reusable items,” said Torrellas, who hints that in addition to being reusable, all the products will have another factor in common.
“People ask why the company’s name is ‘It’s My B.’ I realize that it might sound unusual, but the reason for the name choice will become clearer once future products are introduced,” said Torrellas. “All of our products will begin with the letter ‘B.’ The name of the company will, at that point, make more sense.”