(Ed. Note: Nancy Weil is a member of the Green Ribbon Commission and Island Vision.)
Did you know that Mercer Island is well known for having one of the highest recycling rates in the nation? It's true.
Over the last five years, Mercer Island has become a leader in sustainable living through our , our newly "Zero Waste Zone" , the city's Green Ribbon Commission and through our community as a whole. We are home to groups like Island Vision, Master Gardeners, Urban Farming and Tranisition Initiative MI.
And now, the newest addition to the greening of the Island comes from and the is our own Green Business Program! They'll recognize dozens of local businesses at the. "Mercer Island Green Businesses" are those who have pledged a commitment to environmentally-friedly and sustainable business practices.
A committee was created to help form the program, and is compiled of city staff, the Chamber of Commerce, Island Vision Board Members (myself included) and Green Ribbon Commission members. We researched other city's green business programs to learn how this was working locally and then tailored it to Mercer Island.
The program is free to enroll in and the city's contribution is staff assistance and covering the cost of printed materials. Once businesses enroll, assistance will be offered to them through the city, the Chamber and from Island Vision and Green Ribbon Commission members to answer questions and help guide them through the process.
The main idea behind the program is to promote a responsible, sustainable way to run your business. To encourage strong recycling, composting, energy conservation, pollution control and much more. The program boasts 6 categories from Waste Prevention, Waste Reduction and Recycling, Energy Conservation, Pollution and Hazard Waste, Water Conservation and Transportation. Busniess can chose a category that applies to their business most- and you only need to get certified in ONE category to be certified and recognized as a Green Business. This is a great way for businesses to save money through conservation and they will receive special acknowledgments.
- Mention in Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce e-newsletter
- Listing on City of Mercer Island website
- Recognition at City Council meeting
- Spotlight at Summer Celebration! booths
- Certificates Awarded
- Window Clings to post in business
The program will be launched at the April 7 Chamber Luncheon and at this time, over 25 business have enrolled! The hopes behind this program is not only to help businesses 'do the right thing' environmentally, but that this will help support 'shopping locally' for those businesses that are willing to go the distance to be green and help our community.