Solvent Emissions Directive

All Dry Cleaners – You need to be registered NOW!

It is now a requirement of European and British Regulations that persons using dry cleaning solvents be competent, qualified and also permit holders.

Registration of all premises using dry cleaning solvents will become legally binding and The Guild has come with help for dry cleaners to gain the necessary permit to use solvents under The Solvent Emissions Directive.

With membership to the Guild you will have access to the members area of this website and be able to download free the Solvcalc software to help you work out your solvent milage. Other benifit of membership it the help and support of fellow dry cleaners so you can fully understand the new requirements of the SED.

To find out more regarding membership visit the membership page and fill in our membership form or email the National Secretariat.


Solvent Emissions Directive

The Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 gave Local Authority powers under the Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control. (LAPPC).

Regulation 37 of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 covered a Mandatory Requirement contained in the EU (European Union) Solvent Emissions Directive (SED), which was adopted by the European Commission on the 11th March 1999.

The aim is to reduce emissions of VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds. The directive is being implemented through the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations 2000. Implementation of the act takes into consideration the principle of B A T – Best Available Technique and DEFRA (the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) have considerable experience in issuing Process Guidance Notes to the dry cleaning industry over many years.

Implementation of the Act is through a Rolling Compliance Programme

  • New Installations – Now (from March 2004)
  • Existing Installations – Could be now under certain circumstances for example replacing dry cleaning machines.


Reduced Fee for the SED

Following recent DEFRA guideline updates you could now qualify for reduced SED fee’s

The video below shows a brief of the points system DEFRA now uses to give Dry Cleaners a rating of Low, Medium or High Risk which in turn can reduce your fee.

Visit the members area of this website to view and download the DEFRA document with more detailed explanation.

Dry Cleaning Installations

A Survey by DEFRA indicated that 41% of the most up to date Closed Circuit Carbon Adsorption Machines failed to comply and 61% of the Refrigerated Closed Circuit Machines failed to comply, therefore proving that maintenance and training of the machine operators in methods of optimising the consumption of dry cleaning solvents is key to compliance with the requirements of SED.

Compliance is that “no more than 20 grams of solvent per kilogram of product cleaned and dried shall be emitted as measured on an annual basis”.

The above is equal to:

  • 1 litre of Percholorethylene / 80 kgs of cleaning, or
  • 1 litre of Hydrocarbon / 48.5 kgs of cleaning, or
  • 1 litre of Siloxane / 48.5 kgs of cleaning

Guidance notes, issued with the regulations, state that un-manned coin operated DC machines are unlikely to comply with the requirements of the Directive. All dry cleaning premises, using solvents, will have to register with the Local Authority under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 and will have to apply for a permit to pollute. This will involve form filling, and the provision to the regulatory body of detailed information on the installation. (Dry Cleaning premises). The applicant will also have to provide site drawings of the premises showing locations of machines, solvent storage, and any drains which may be affected if solvents are spilled.

A further requirement is to provide details of checking and maintenance procedures, and requirements in the form of a list of activities. Also, details must be given of other activities carried out which may involve the use of organic solvents, in particular spot cleaning solutions, or water-proofing preparations, and any other solvent borne preparations. The applicant will also have to provide details on the training and relevant qualifications regarding operating and maintaining the dry cleaning machine.

This is where the Guild can be of help

SED applications
The demands of this application to the local authority can be something of a shock to many dry cleaners because they can no longer get away with not weighing, and recording the items processed. The application form will ask how this is to be carried out and recorded on a weekly and annual basis.

Details of the volume of solvent used will be required to be recorded on a weekly and annual basis, as will spot cleaning solvents, and the application will require information of how this is to be carried out. The fee must be paid and an annual charge called a subsistence charge will also be payable.

Non Payment means Revocation of the Permit
The permit, when received, will be very specific detailing the make, model, serial number, load capacity, date of installation, and which dry cleaning solvent the machines (or machines) use. The conditions attached include the use of no more than 20 grams of solvent per kg of items cleaned, as reported (recorded) annually. Another condition will be the implementation of the schedule of procedures of checks and maintenance of the dry cleaning machine that was previously listed on the application form.

The local authority (the regulator) will insist that they be informed in writing at least 14 days prior to any proposed significant alteration to the operation, or a modification of the installation which may have an effect on solvent emissions.

Other conditions applied will include operating staff being able to locate the operating manual for each dry cleaning machine. They must also be trained in the operation of each dry cleaning machine, and be able to control the use of dry cleaning solvents i.e. limit emissions. It is also a requirement that any training received must be recorded.

Again this is an area the Guild Qualifications can become useful
The permit contains a further 32 (38 in total) attached conditions detailing the installation requirements and the operation of the DC machine with a specific duty on the operator, and owner, to minimise the use, and emissions, of solvent vapours.

The regulations continue to tighten up the safety margins by specifying additional safety features for machines installed after the 19th of May 2005, which all new machines supplied and purchased will no doubt comply with, but what about installing “second hand” machines? No distinction is allowed for as the regulations treat both under the same conditions.

The Guild now have a new qualification for – The Safe Handling of Dry Cleaning Solvents – to cover the requirements of the Solvent Emissions Directive

What will the new Guild Qualification of “Handling Solvent Safely” cover?

  • All the requirements of the “Solvent Emissions Directive”.
  • Recording and measuring processed items and solvents used, and monitoring compliance.
  • Safety checks and maintenance requirements of dry cleaning machines, and their routine scheduling.
  • Measure the ability of the candidate to understand the dry cleaning process, and its various operations and procedures.
  • How to make out an application for a Permit to the regulatory Local Authority.
  • Optimisation of the dry cleaning operation – in the case of a sub standard, or failing dry cleaning installation how to improve the performance to meet the requirements of S E D to gain compliance with the regulations.

The exam paper has 55 questions and the candidate is allowed 75 minutes to complete the paper.

Membership of the Guild of Cleaners & Launderers will allow you exculsive access to the Members Area and FREE downloads for the SolvCalc software for you to record your solvent usage for the SED.

Special SED meetings have been held with a presentation then and opportunity to take the exam.

If you would like any further information please email the Guild Secretariat.