WASHINGTON, D.C. - February 4, 2013 (Investorideas.com renewable energy newswire) A public voting period opens today (February 4) for finalists of the third quarterly Green America "People & Planet" award recognizing America's best green small businesses. Each of three winners will receive $5,000.
The quarterly "People & Planet Awards" recognize innovative entrepreneurial U.S. businesses that integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. This round of the Awards will focus on green businesses that also have a strong commitment to creative recycling and waste management. Votes will be tallied and three quarterly winners will be announced during the week of March 4th.
The 10 final contenders for this round of People & Planet Awards are: American Textile and Supply, Contra Costa, CA; Compost Now, Raleigh, NC; First World Trash, Queens, NY; Green Citizen, San Francisco, CA; Grounds for Change, Poulsbo, WA; Hummingbird Wholesale, Eugene, OR; Preserve, Waltham, MA; Repurposed Materials, Denver, CO; Stay Vocal, Norwell, MA; and Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA.
American Textile and Supply, Contra Costa, CA., http://www.americantex.com. American Textile & Supply, Inc. reclaims and converts 100% post-consumer textile waste into wiping cloths (rags), reducing the environmental impact on landfills, energy use and water use. The company sources this post-consumer textile waste from charities, hospitals, hotels, commercial laundries and other recyclers. It collects used clothing, linens, sheets, towels and many other materials. However, a majority is not sellable as is and would go to the landfill if American Textile & Supply, Inc. did not make wiping cloths! They are dealing in the true dredges of textiles and helping to promote zero waste.
CompostNow, Raleigh, NC., http://compostnow.org. CompostNow is a weekly doorstep pick-up service allowing households to divert their food scraps and compostable waste to contribute to the creation of nutrient-rich soil for home and community gardens. We've found ourselves at a gap in the urban food system that neglects these valuable resources that can be cleanly and conveniently diverted and utilized in the production of nutritionally complete produce and foods. By bridging this gap and completing this cycle, we reduce waste, improve our health, and deepen our connection to our own food system. Based in Raleigh, NC, CompostNow and its community have intercepted 50,000lbs. of compostable waste contributing to the creation of 25,000lbs. of compost made available to home and community gardens
First World Trash, Queens, NY., http://www.firstworldtrash.com. Where
others see trash, First World Trash (FWT) sees possibilities. FWT is an innovative, blossoming, socially responsible, zero waste bag and accessory company. They offer one-of-a-kind, stylish, eco-friendly accessories by re-using materials that would otherwise contribute to a landfill, such as billboards, automobile seatbelts, tents, and bicycle inner tubes. This waste tends to be out of our collective awareness and abundant. For example, the advertising industry continues to send 10,000 tons of commercial vinyl billboards to landfills annually. This material does not breakdown, it literally fills landfills around the world. FWT provides free recycling to this industry and bring a unique, high quality product to market as a result. They do not manufacture any new material and do not create a new waste stream. They clean up the current waste management streams by "remanufacturing" unconventional materials with a process that is not energy intensive, does not create new waste or by products, and creates local employment opportunities for artists within the community as products are hand-made. Unlike other major "green" companies, the process of remanufacturing does not leave a manufacturing footprint! From the early stages of the remaking process to the end, FWT utilizes human energy systems, not chemical or physical processes that create more trash and pollution.
Green Citizen, San Francisco, CA., http://www.greencitizen.com. Electronic
waste is the fastest growing, yet one of the most neglected waste streams in the United States. Lack of education, regulation, and recycling options contribute to the dumping of e-waste in local landfills and all over the world, especially in disenfranchised developing countries. These activities cause severe social and environmental consequences when toxins in electronic gadgets leach into our groundwater supply. GreenCitizen was founded to combat the e-waste crisis by developing a sustainable metropolitan model where electronics are reused and recycled within the community they are consumed in- a closed loop system. GreenCitizen adheres to a triple bottom line by deeply integrating social and environmental practices into its strategies and operations. As a result, it earned the only B-Corporation certification in the e-recycling industry. The company currently partners with many buildings in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area to perform regular e-waste pickups. Profits generated are reinvested into community eco-centers in Berkeley, San Francisco, Burlingame, and Mountain View, CA where communities can drop off electronics (TVs, computers, cell phones, media tapes, microwaves etc.) free of charge and learn about the e-waste crisis.
Grounds for Change, Poulsbo, WA., http://www.groundsforchange.com. Grounds for Change is a small, family-owned coffee roasting business that deals exclusively in organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade coffees. The company has made strong efforts to reduce waste in a variety of ways. All of their roasting by-product (chaff) goes to local farmers who use it as mulch. They compost all unused coffee beans, coffee grounds, filters, compostable cups and utensils, used paper towels (except any used with chemicals), and food waste. They offer compostable cups to all of their wholesale customers and The large burlap bags in which they receive unroasted coffee beans are all reused and/or donated for such activities as the annual International Coastal Clean-Up Day, for stabilizing raised beds at several local farms/CSAs, and as material to be sewn into tote bags by a local farmer to earn extra income in her off-season. In addition to waste-reduction efforts, Grounds for Change is an all-around green company with both a social justice and environmental sustainability focus. They are dedicated to producing a superior coffee product in a way that shares the monetary benefit with growers and has as little environmental impact on the planet as possible. All of their coffee is organic, which reduces the environmental toll of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and protects the health of coffee workers at the beginning of the supply chain.
Hummingbird Wholesale, Eugene, OR., http://www.hummingbirdwholesale.com. Hummingbird Wholesale (HW) is a bulk food distributor offering organic, local and regional food crops to over 500 wholesale customers from Seattle to San Francisco. The company is known for their Zero Waste practices, commitment to sustainability, and stellar customer service. Since 2003 Hummingbird Wholesale has established and managed a successful reuse program. One hundred percent of all liquids that are packed and distributed are in glass and plastic reusable containers with deposit for return. Returned containers are washed and reused. After three employees participated in the Lane County Master Recyclers program, they shared this knowledge with HW staff and created an elaborate building-wide system of reuse, recycle and compost bins and accompanying signage. The system goes far beyond what the local recycling hauler will pick up. The total waste generated by HW activities is approximately three 65 gallon containers per month; everything else is recycled or sold for reuse. All local deliveries—except when there is a barrel or orders over 1,000 lbs—are done via bicycle (tri-hauler) specifically designed to carry loads up to 1,000 lbs.
Preserve, Waltham, MA. http://www.preserveproducts.com. Preserve® makes stylish, eco-friendly products for the home. They strive to combine socially and environmentally responsible business practices with groundbreaking design to create their products. Preserve believes that choosing eco-friendly products doesn't mean having to sacrifice quality, price, or performance. By using 100% recycled #5 plastic for their products, their approach is already one rooted in waste reduction. Beyond this, they exist to be a catalyst in making positive changes in consumer behavior so that they live within the resources of the planet. They do this through initiatives like the Gimme 5 recycling program, and more recently through the introduction of Preserve Shareware.
Repurposed Materials, Denver, CO. http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com. Repurposed Materials is the only company in America whose entire product line is made of "repurposed" items. "Repurposing" is creative Re-use. It is not recycling, which has gotten all the buzz since the 1970s. Recycling requires huge amounts of energy to melt, grind, chip, or shred a waste stream into a useable feedstock to be used as a raw material to manufacture something new. With "repurposing," Repurposed Materials deals with byproducts and waste that get a second life because they have value "as is."
Stay Vocal, Norwell, MA., http://www.stayvocal.com. Stay Vocal is a Green America certified ReUse apparel brand that is 100% remade in the USA. The company rescues t-shirts and gives them a second life with a new design. The apparel line is made with brand new shirts that were set to be destroyed and also pre-worn shirts, allowing Stay Vocal to offer unique items to customers. Orders and labels are printed on blank sides of scrap paper from local businesses and are shipped in used packaging like cereal boxes. All computers, equipment, displays, and other materials are pre-owned.
Urban Ore, Berkeley, CA., http://urbanore.com. Urban Ore began in 1980 as a bootstrap business that identified value in discarded objects; sorted, cleaned, priced, and organized them; and presented them as merchandise. They started by salvaging at the dump, mining the landfill instead of the land. When the landfill closed, they moved into town. Today Urban Ore is a cultural fulcrum point that prevents waste, creates jobs, puts cash and refined resources into the community's hands, collects and pays sales, payroll, and property taxes for the public benefit, and provides worldly goods at bargain prices. Preventing pollution supports the community's real property and standard of living. Urban Ore diverts about 7,000 discarded tons from landfill a year.
Judges for this award include: Katie Galloway & Gigi Abbadie, Aveda; Justin Conway, Calvert Foundation; Desiree Reese, Clean Currents (fall winner!); Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar; Cheryl Newman, Honest Tea; Theresa Marquez, Organic Valley; Eric Henry, TS Designs; and Reed Doyle, Seventh Generation; Lauren Ornelas, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; Michelle Greenfield, Third Sun Solar (fall winner!); and Fran Teplitz & Andrew Korfhage, Green America.
Future rounds of the quarterly small business awards from Green America will focus on workplace innovations, healthy food, and other sustainability practices.
ABOUT GREEN AMERICA
Green America is the nation's leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. http://www.GreenAmerica.org.
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