In its first week, the Danville Area Sustainable Business program has had 17 businesses sign-up to take the 30-day challenge to get sustainable.
The program's 30 day challenge launched March 1 in association with Discover Danville Association, Danville Area Chamber of Commerce, Shop Danville First and Sustainable Danville Area. It encourages businesses to take 25 concrete steps to put in place environmentally sustainable business practices by March 30, earning a Danville Area Sustainable Business designation.
A few local businesses have already been recognized for their efforts to get sustainable.
San Ramon Veterinary Hospital, William White Insurance Office, and Gayler Construction were the first to earn their designations as Danville Area Sustainable Businesses by completing at least 25 of the recommended sustainable practices on the program checklist.
All practices on the checklist are meant to save energy and water, and reduce waste and fall into one of these categories:
- Reuse materials
- Recycle waste
- Buy or sell items with recycled content
- Reduce waste
- Reduce energy consumption
- Conserve water
- Reduce chemical use
- Reduce vehicle emissions
- Prevent pollution.
, completed their checklist items this week and has taken the challenge one step further.
Bob Oxenburgh, the school's Director of Finance and Business Operations, is working to get their campus certified with the Bay Area Green Business Program.
The county-wide program certifies that participating organizations actively conserve resources, prevent pollution, minimize waste and reduce their carbon footprint.
The program has recognized over 400 businesses within Contra Costa so far.
Oxenburgh says he's inspired to conserve because it saves money.
He says the school has just adopted use of 100 percent recycled copier paper, which is more expensive than non-recycled paper. But with thoughtful use and planning by Athenian staff, teachers and students have reduced paper use from nearly 2 million sheets in 2005 to 780,000 sheets of paper last year.
Their goal is to further reduce paper use another 25 percent this fiscal year, by relying more on electronic distribution of information and paperless classrooms.
Gayler Construction, a Green Builder since 1993, has also reduced its paper use.
During the Sustainable Business program training, the company learned that 100 million trees die every year to make the paper used for mailings most people view as 'junk' mail.
The company's office manager, Terri, downloaded the Stop Junk Mail Kit from www.stopjunkmail.org and hopes to gain a significant reduction in the junk mail volume they get every week.
You can also spot members of Gayler Construction running errands around town on their Alternative Energy Vehicle—a bicycle! This mode of transportation saves energy, reduces vehicle emissions, and prevents pollution—a trifecta of sustainable practices. Plus, it's good exercise!
Other Danville businesses are focused on paper re-use.
Lani Studios, a website designer and developer, and Design On The Line, which offers interior design services, keep their extra junk mail and used copy paper and use it for printing drafts and as 'scratch' paper when taking notes. They also re-use packaging material and envelopes by covering up the old address and postage.
Cottage Jewel, local purveyor of fine antiques, re-purposes second hand paper and bags to wrap their customer’s purchases for the trip home.
To follow which local businesses are adopting environmentally-friendly practices and learn more about the 30-Day Challenge, visit: Danville Area Sustainable Business Challenge.
Check back Mondays and Fridays for more updates about how local businesses are getting sustainable.