Dry cleaning vending machines that promise a 24-hour, eco-friendly service have been launched in London underground stations, disrupting an industry that has until now been relatively unaffected by the digital revolution.
The dry cleaning machines cost £3 a piece for commuters, with the first now available at Epping station. Other stations set to install a VDrop are Woodford, South Woodford, Loughton and North Greenwich over the next few months. Two hundred of the machines will arrive across the capital at gyms, shopping centres and offices, with the vending machines planning to launch nationally in early 2019.
VClean Life, the company behind the VDrops, have a fleet that collects the clothes from the machines and cleans them using biodegradable detergent and conditioners. VDrop’s dry cleaners do not use perchloroethylene (perc), which is a dry cleaning chemical known to cause cancer, neurological disorder, kidney and liver damage. Perc has to be buried inside containers in waste sites because it is so toxic.
The service represents a significant change for the laundry industry, one of the few sectors that has not seen much technological and ecological advancement.
Nick Harris, Managing Director and Founder, VClean Life said, “We are transforming the dirty dry cleaning sector, by making green cleaning accessible with VDrops now hitting the high street. “There is nothing else like this on the market. In just 24 hours customers will receive a premium service at ridiculously cheap prices, with 200 machines being rolled out across London in the coming months, before going national.”
“We are thrilled that Transport for London will be the first to roll them out to commuters across the capital.” Customers for the vending machines can sign up at VClean’s website, where they receive a unique QR code that allows them to book in at the machine. The VDrops have a tracking system using cameras, barcodes and radio-frequency identification tech that lets its customers track their clothes digitally. The machines also give users a biodegradable bag to use to load up their laundry.