Local business owner wins Going Green contest
Derba Mills, owner of the eco-friendly Clothesline Cleaners, took home the top prize in a contest for Texas-based, women-owned businesses dedicated to protecting the environment. Mills’ win was announced by Gov. Rick Perry during the 2009 Texas Conference for Women held in Houston Nov. 12.
“I didn’t expect to win,” Mills admitted recently. “This is so special to me.”
In just the past six years Mills has opened six Clothesline Cleaners, including one at 19141 Stone Oak Parkway and another near Hwy 281 and Evans Road. All use chemical-free alternatives to dry clean items rather than perchloroethylene, a toxic chemical that remains a standard in the industry even though it is linked to specific health problems and is a potential carcinogen. In 2007, California even enacted the first statewide ban on perchloroethylene by requiring dry cleaners eliminate machines using the solvent by 2023.
Although chemical-free alternatives are more costly and take much longer, going green was the obvious choice for Mills, a self-proclaimed enviropreneur. “I believe a lot of us are just trying to remove toxins from our home,” she said. “If you can do it, why not?”
Clothesline Cleaners tries to reduce its ecological footprint as much as possible and has even replaced wire hangers with EcoHangers made of 100 percent recycled paper. Mills’ dedication to operating a green business has earned her much recognition in the past few years. In 2007, the Texas House of Representatives passed a resolution commending Mills for “combining entrepreneurial spirit with ecological concern.”
As the top winner in November’s Boost Your Business by Going Green contest, Mills will receive Hewlett-Packard technology equipment totaling $15,000. Dallas-based Abernethy Media Professionals won second place for its energy-cutting measures, while Xtreme Xhibits by Skyline took home the third-place prize for applying sustainable methods and materials in the marketing industry.
“They are proof that great ideas are just great ideas until they’re brought to life by hard work,” Gov. Perry said.