Celebrating 15 Years: Sarasota County’s Green Business Partnership
On Jan. 19, 2006, Dave’s Auto Repair become Sarasota County’s first Green Business Partner. Pledging to demonstrate the environmental stewardship of the business, the auto repair location began taking sustainable actions to reduce waste, water and energy. Soon, other local businesses were quick to join the partnership by completing the application and receiving an onsite evaluation. All become designated “Green Businesses” in the first year of the program. Today, the program has grown to include more than 260 active partnership businesses.
Over the years, we have seen a wide range of successful initiatives through the program, including:
- The business has green team in place (80% of program partners);
- Implemented new recycling and waste reduction measures (80%);
- Employed new water conservation measures (20%); and
- Adopted new energy conservation measures (80%).
Success stories of re-certified partners include: a two-time Tampa Bay Sustainable Business of the Year nominee; efforts to make a seagrass survey zero-waste; and employees making efforts to learn more about recycling and what can actually be recycled by the business.
The new world of stay-at-home directives, online ordering and Zoom meetings has had a noticeable impact on businesses in Sarasota county. As we look to reopen our county, we need to continue to look for more sustainable business practices and find time to go green. Now is a great time for businesses to implement new, healthier and greener initiatives for their employees and clients.
Examples of practices can be as simple as:
- Setting up a recycling program that encourages participation;
- Creating a program to recover at least 1 or 2 new materials not being recycled (think plastic bags and e-waste);
- Establishing a company green team; or
- Pledging to host more sustainable events by eliminating single-use plastics.
The Green Business Partnership is open to all businesses in Sarasota County. Certified Green Business partners operate in an environmentally responsible manner. More than 260 businesses have earned certification. Program certification includes an on-site verification of reduction, reuse and conservation practices in:
- Business operations;
- Solid waste management;
- Recycling; and
- Energy and water consumption.