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Doing Business The Green Way

By Angela Young

With crazy allergies and health issues popping up like weeds everywhere, most people are fed up with junk in food, water, the things we buy and the environment.

Healthy living in today’s world is on everyone’s mind. Who wants to eat radioactive fish with three heads? So, what do we do about reducing our carbon footprint on Planet Earth?

We’ll focus on four companies spread throughout Silicon Valley and the coast, who are taking measures in making their products and practices green.

Nut Kreations

Let’s take a green tour and begin in the charming city of Santa Cruz. This seaside getaway is an ideal model of clean, evironmental living. The first earth friendly commercial enterprise is Nut Kreations on Lincoln Street.

They proudly produce a wholesome, tasty assortment of nuts and fruits in an environmentally safe store. They roast and season their products in-house. You can buy freshly made gourmet trail mix or granola blend that is actually healthy and tastes great.

Brody and Mina Feuerhaken own Nut Kreations. Mrs. Feuerhaken is not only crazy about nuts but grew up in a family of pistachio farmers. She and her husband are into a healthy lifestyle promoting wholesome products sans GMO (genetically modified organism) elements. Keeping the planet healthy is a crucial mission for the Feuerhakens, who opened their downtown shop in 2011.

She explains, “It is a way of life I was raised on and more recently became more aware of. There is too much waste happening around the world. I can make a tiny difference; I feel way better about it.

“We built the place following the guidelines of being green. Anything from the paint we used to paint the place, to our lighting, our product packaging, waste usage,…was all in mind for being green and sustainable. I also remind my employees everyday to reuse and reduce their waste and be considerate in their footprint. It starts from the bottom, and if we all use little measures in our daily efforts it will add up!”

It’s no easy task to receive green certification.

“It is very extensive, tons of paperwork and inspection, but like I said, we built the place with that in mind. Therefore, we were all ready; the paper work took longer for me to go through though,” she says.

Nut Kreations also works with other green companies and purchases from local growers in Central California and the South Valley.

Kitchen countertops and flooring by Greenspace

The next green retailer on our tour is Greenspace on Swift Street in Santa Cruz. This home improvement store’s online catalog sells eco-friendly paints, stains, sealers, finishes, plaster, flooring, countertops, tile, solatubes, and mattresses.

Greenspace opened its door in 2006 to meet the cry for more eco-safe products and services in the Monterey Bay area.

Their website states, “Our goal is to provide a resource center to educate the community on the wide array of options available to lighten our impact on the earth and to create healthy environments without sacrificing comfort and beauty.

“We have spent many hours choosing the appropriate products for our store. We select the highest quality materials that provide a high level of ecological benefit to the environment and to our clients.”

They use the following guidelines for their products and services:

  • Is it non-toxic?
  • Does it contain recycled content?
  • Is it sourced locally?
  • Is it no more than you need?
  • Does it reduce energy consumption?
  • Does it reduce water consumption?
  • Does it meet or beat strict European indoor air quality standards?
  • Is it of sufficient quality that it will not need to be replaced frequently?
  • Is it biodegradable?
  • Is it sustainably harvested?

Rainsavers

Our next stop is the quaint town of Saratoga in Silicon Valley. Rainsavers’ founder and president is Brad Daniel. The basic principal of Rainsavers is water conservation.

Daniel reveals, “Rainsavers is green certified, by Santa Clara County. Recognized by the State Legislature, we use all recycled plastic products, barrels, tanks, stands.  We have very little waste. We use recycled paper for printing.  No chemicals or toxins. Rainsavers protects the environment by reducing stormwater runoff.  This runoff from properties goes to the street storm drains.  When it travels down streets, it picks ups all the paint, road oils, feces and other  pollutants and goes to the bay.  By stopping the runoff before it begins, that eliminates the pollution going to the bay.”

Daniel and his company are aware of how we impact our environment.

He says,“A clean earth to me is all pollution related.  By reducing stormwater runoff, I am reducing pollution to the bay.  Rainwater tanks are also used for fire prevention in the Santa Cruz mountains.  Fire is both a destructive and beneficial condition to the environment.  Fire removes ground level vegetation and causes mudslides and property damage.  The benefit of fire is removing all the dead wood and leaves, and it cleans a forest for new growth.” 

The Painting Pros

We leave Saratoga to visit the unique town of Los Gatos. The Painting Pros, Inc. is the first company to be green certified in Santa Clara County. Owner Cleve Dayton worked in the painting business for thirty nine years and got his license in 1978.

Dayton says, “Many years ago, when I started painting, the business was not very green. For example, it was commonplace to pour used paint thinner in the dirt somewhere out of the way where no would see it. Not knowing any better I used to do it too until one day I dumped some thinner at the base of a tree. Of course the tree eventually died. I was not too happy about that. It taught me a really good lesson. Since then I have disposed of all oil-base products in a safe way.

My view is that we only have one Earth. We should make sure that we don’t damage the environment and we should do things to make it even better for future generations.”

It’s a good thing we have these green ventures to keep us healthy and our great outdoors pristine.

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