From Java Jones, which now offers organic, fair-trade coffees and compostable plastic utensils, to travel business Green Pleasures, which at no extra fee makes contributions to offset your trip’s carbon usage, Santa Barbara’s small businesspeople are making exceptional efforts to be environmental citizens. Since 2000, the annual Green Awards have honored five businesses that exceed the call of commerce to save the Earth. Too numerous to mention here but too good to miss, their achievements can be admired at lessismore.org.
On the other hand, the small business sector as a whole leaves room for improvement. Most businesses need to set goals and make some headway in the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Consumers can do their part to help them achieve these goals. For example, next time you’re in Trader Joe’s-local wines in your cart and reusable canvas grocery bag in hand-you might ask the manager what’s up with all the Styrofoam packaging on the fruit.
There are a few other projects on the horizon that will make it easier for businesses to do the right thing. In particular, the Green Awards Consortium is working on a checklist that will allow all small businesses to earn honors.