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Small Businesses Go Green, Using More Environmentally Friendly Products and Practices

“Many company owners use environmentally friendly cars, recycle materials and buy biodegradable office supplies because they care about what happens to the environment. It also makes good business sense, making their companies more competitive and lifting employees’ morale.

W&M Properties, a New York-based real estate company that also has a construction affiliate, has switched its fleet of more than 25 pickup trucks to hybrid Ford Escape cars. President Tony Malkin said of the hybrids, “they pay for themselves in the fuel savings.” He noted that most of the company’s driving is done on local streets, and called the pickups’ mileage “appalling.”

W&M has also implemented recycling programs in the buildings it manages, including ones that handle discarded computers — “it’s what you’re supposed to do, but people don’t do it,” Malkin said.

The company also is recycling about half the materials it’s removing from a project being done for Pitney Bowes. “You’re using less landfill space, and it’s product that can be used again in the future,” Malkin said.

Malkin said his company is using more green practices because “the current way of doing business is destructible.” But, he said, “people want to do business in an environmentally sustainable fashion and we are at a competitive advantage by moving the needle toward green.”

There are many ways that companies can go green. Some of them are simple, and basic, such as conserving energy with appliances and equipment that aren’t power guzzlers. Recycling is a very common way to go green. So is buying paper and other supplies that are made with recycled material.

There are plenty of resources detailing how to go green on the Internet, in bookstores and in libraries. Environmental groups have information as well.

Mark Mandel, co-owner of Mark Drugs, a Roselle, Ill., pharmacy, said his business recycles even though the local government doesn’t have a recycling program.

“It’s an extra effort, but we feel it’s important to be conscientious about the environment,” he said.

Mandel said paper from computer printouts is sorted, with blanks pulled out, saved and reused. His company hasn’t needed to buy prescription pads since it started recycling.

He also finds it’s good for morale. “The staff realizes you are concerned,” he said, and noted that the good feeling generated by his attitude filters down to their interactions with customers.

“Everyone takes a team attitude,” he said.

The company plans to construct its own building in the future, and Mandel said it will be a green building.

Of course, for some companies, their reason for being is green, for example, organic food stores or manufacturers of clothing made from natural fibers only.

Floorworks, a Toronto-based hardwood flooring manufacturer, sells green products — it says its wood comes from forests that have been approved by the Forest Stewardship Council, a group that aims at managing forests in an environmentally friendly way. Co-founder Brian Greenberg said the company also donates a percentage of its profits toward the replanting of rainforests.

Greenberg said the company wanted to help fight the deleterious effects of climate change. “One of the problems we can address through the sale of our products is to be involved with reforestation.”

That kind of activism appeals to many consumers, who are often drawn to the idea that the money they spend can be doing good for the world. But they’re also looking for products and services that are good for them — Greenberg said his company has thrived by selling flooring that isn’t covered with polyurethane, but that’s protected by oil. That stops plastic particles from going into the air, he said.

The Greenhouse Grille, a Fayetteville, Ark., restaurant, sells organic food and uses as many environmentally friendly products and services as it can find. Clayton Suttle, a co-owner, said he and his partners have eaten organic food for years because of its health benefits, and “when we were looking into opening a restaurant, it just kind of carried over.”

“We’re trying to go as much so-called green as we can,” he said.

The partners weren’t sure from the get-go that their concept would work. But organic food has become very popular in their area, and the fact that local organic farmers were selling their meat and produce to the restaurant has helped.”

From: Joyce M. Rosenberg, Associated Press
Published April 19, 2007 12:00 AM

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    Organic Color Systems

    My Hair Trip Salon Denver is Colorado’s premier eco-friendly hair salon. We strive to constantly and consistently meet the needs of our clients and customers. We also focus on sustainability in all aspects of our business, including who we do business with. We chose Organic Salon Systems for our color line, not only because they have the best organic color in the world, but also because of who they are, as a company, as a whole. Here is their mission statement.

    “We will change salons for the better by eradicating harmful chemicals, toxins, and carcinogens in the salon environment without sacrificing the health, beauty, and well-being of clients, stylist, or salquote closeon professionals.
    Organic Salon Systems provides professional hairdressers with high performance hair products which maximize the use of gentle, nourishing and natural ingredients while minimizing the necessity for harsh or damaging chemical additives. With these healthier products and better information, we hope to bring about superior results, increased competence and a safer salon environment for all concerned. To accomplish our mission, we have adopted the following company ethos:

    • Nurture the beauty, dignity, respect, health, and well-being of all;
    • Pursue uncompromised integrity;
    • Deliver excellence in all that we do;
    • Only distribute the highest performance, healthiest, most natural, and gentlest products available;
    • Continually recognize that the best way to grow our business is by helping our clients grow theirs;
    • Fully disclose all product ingredients and act with transparency, honesty, and integrity;
    • Never divert our product lines or allow them to be sold to non-professionals;
    • Maintain an ethical environmental policy;
    • Do not tolerate any products ever tested on animals;
    • Train, educate, and provide information which will enable the industry and our clients to become healthier while improving their service quality;
    • Provide world-class service to our clients and always strive to become the best at what we do in every regard.”

    http://www.organiccolorsystems.com/professional-organics/our-mission/

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      Why I Decided To Ditch Chemicals And Go Organic With My Hair Dye

      Trust me, when it comes to hair dye, I’m as picky as an amateur can be. I’ve been dyeing my hair red for 12 years, and I’ve managed to pick up a few tricks: I know exactly what to say to get the right shade (“copper tones, not purple”) and I’ve strategized how to reduce the damage for my single-process dye job (only color the roots and use a glaze on the ends).

      But after all of those years of gaining expertise at the salon, I still wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with the results. My once-resilient hair had started to become dry and less vibrant, and the color seemed to fade within a week. So I decided to give organic hair color a try. Sure, the prospect was scary at first — I’m just as guilty as most people when it comes to equating “natural” with “less effective” when assessing beauty products. But after a little research, I discovered the Organic Color System and became intrigued.

      Standard, non-organic hair dye is loaded with all sorts of questionably safe chemicals: ammonia, formaldehyde, sodium laurel sulphates and parabens, to name a few. Much of the research focuses on how the chemicals affect the salon workers who use them daily, but it’s not hard to see how years of chemical abuse would leave my hair — and that of 75 percent of American women who admit to dyeing their hair — less shiny and soft. (Aging, it should be noted, could be a factor here, too.) The Organic Color System, on the other hand, is a natural, ammonia-free solution that promises long-lasting, vibrant results. Between 98-99 percent of the ingredients are naturally derived or organic, and the only synthetic ingredients are the pigments and stabilizers.

      Cue the skepticism. Would this dye really work?

      Rather than make an uneducated assumption about organic dye, I decided to book an appointment with hairstylist Mordechai Alvow at New York City’s Yarok Beauty Kitchen. Using the Organic Color System, Alvow helped me choose between the 64 shades offered (even blonde!). The process was exponentially more enjoyable, since the anti-oxidant blend of aloe vera leaf, comfrey root, orange peel and grapefruit seed in the organic dye didn’t have the same headache-inducing effects of the harsh-smelling, ammonia-filled dye you get in most salons. (It didn’t hurt that Alvow’s adorable dog was perched on my lap the whole time, either.)

      But even the most pleasant smells couldn’t get me to go organic if the results weren’t at least as good as the chemical stuff. Luckily, they were. After Alvow was done with me, the color was the most striking shade of copper red I’ve ever had, and I didn’t have that pesky line of demarcation that always gives me what I call “fire roots” (freshly dyed roots that never seem to blend properly until after a couple of washes). The best part: My hair felt 10 pounds lighter and as soft as an 8-year-old’s. Needless to say, I’m an organic hair dye convert.

      Just like with standard dye, Alvow told me that the maintenance of the Organic Color System is pretty simple: Avoid products with sulfates, and wash your hair less often and with water that’s not too hot. (PSA: His haircare line Yarok has shampoo and conditioner that’s safe for color-treated hair.)

      So fellow hair color devotees, all I ask of you is this: Try organic hair dye and see what you think. If the ecological and health benefits don’t sway you, the soft, chemical-free hair you get might be what convinces you to officially switch teams.

      Article written by: Rebecca Adams at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/17/organic-hair-dye_n_4597190.html
      Rebecca.Adams@huffingtonpost.com

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