Co – Founder
Co – Founder
What happens when an entrepreneur and an environmental scientist get together
Hans Kim, whose family’s successful cleaning business employed 100 people in greater Los Angeles, was way ahead of his time when he began a search for an alternative to dry cleaning with chemicals. The year was 1997.
Environmental scientist Peter Sinsheimer, Ph.D. had the alternative Hans was looking for. Peter had funding to evaluate the viability of wet cleaning. He needed a cleaning entrepreneur to work with to see if wet cleaning delivered on key performance, cost, environmental, and human health factors.
When Hans and Peter found each other, a two-decade collaboration and friendship began. What they shared was a passion for transforming a polluting industry into a healthy green one.
They knew that true transformation would require new technologies, smart business, and government policy change. So they worked together on all three.
Perfecting the process and the policies
When the two pioneers met in 1997, Peter was Director of the Pollution Prevention Center at Occidental College’s Urban & Environmental Policy Institute. Now he heads up UCLA’s Sustainable Technology & Policy Program. Peter advocated for policy change at the local, state, and federal level. Thanks to his efforts, Perc, the toxic used by the vast majority of dry cleaners will be illegal in LA starting in 2020, and throughout California by 2023.
Meanwhile Hans tested and refined wet cleaning techniques at his family operations. Some things worked, some didn’t. Calling on his own biochem background, he tested various combinations of biodegradable soaps, conditioners and pH factors to work on all kinds of textiles. He successfully repurposed techniques for washing silk that were used in ancient Korea and Japan. He partnered with manufacturers of cutting-edge, computer controlled washers, dryers, and tensioning systems.
Together, Hans and Peter convinced early adopter dry cleaning businesses to convert to professional wet cleaning. The early sites saw their businesses grow and helped to convert over 100 cleaners in Northern and Southern California. And now, Aqua Professional Wet Cleaning, the proven culmination of their joint efforts over 20 years, is perfected and ready for prime time.