Business Bites

Business Bites

Growing Green Business in San Benito County

San Benito County is famous for fertile farmland, and now Green Business will be growing here too! Thanks in part to State funding, San Benito County’s Integrated Waste Management Regional Agency has revitalized the San Benito Green Business Program which includes the Cities of Hollister, San Juan Bautista, and unincorporated San Benito County.

The recently re-launched program is quickly gaining momentum with several local leaders already engaging in the certification process including Credo Studio and Jardines de San Juan in San Juan Bautista, and the San Benito County Arts Council, San Benito Chamber of Commerce, Jayleaf & Suprema and Fisher’s in Hollister. Marcus Edwards, Manager of Jardines de San Juan recently enrolled in the Green Business program because as he notes, “We feel our business will benefit in the long run by already having processes and procedures in place that may become mandatory in the future. Being able to achieve this at our own pace is smart business.”

Enrolling in the Green Business program helps identify areas where businesses could save money through conserving resources, can help identify rebates and other financial incentives to make upgrades, and connects businesses to the growing Green Business network with some 3,500+ businesses already certified throughout the State. Business owners choose to join the program for many reasons. As Marcus shares, “Jardines enrolled in the Green Business program as a way to ensure we are meeting our responsibility to the planet and as a resource to learn about new ways of doing so.”

Green Business Coordinator Hannah Francis has been working towards re-launching the program over the last year and is excited to help provide local businesses with the resources to reduce waste and increase efficiency. Joining Hannah is Green Business Specialist Celina Stotler, a Hollister native who is passionate about bringing a broader awareness of sustainable business practices to her community. Hannah and Celina are excited to help make the certification process efficient and seamless and as Marcus noted of his experience”The certification process has been relatively easy, we have always strived to reduce, reuse and recycle, and the Green Business program was a catalyst into moving operations into the direction of that in ways we had not yet thought of.” Please contact Hannah or Celina if you have any questions regarding the San Benito Green Business Program, or if there is a business you’d like to recommend for certification!

Hannah Francis

From left to right are: Jennifer Laine, Executive Director of San Benito County Arts Council, Celina Stotler, San Benito County Green Business Specialist, Hannah Francis, San Benito County Green Business Coordinator, Amanda Chiado, Programs Manager for San Benito County Arts Council.


Celina Stotler


Help Grow the Green Business Program

We are looking for a team of volunteers and interns to help grow the Monterey Bay Green Business Program. Are you looking for a summer internship or just looking to volunteer your time for a good cause? Sign-up here for more info!

Our Green Business Volunteer Program Assistants will primarily be responsible for reaching out to small and medium sized businesses to explain the green business program, encourage them to enroll, and help them fill out their application to get Green Business certified. Outreach to targeted businesses will be based on your location within the tri-county region of Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey Counties. The Green Business Program is an incentive based certification program to guide businesses toward more sustainable operations. In order for businesses to receive certification, they must register and complete a checklist administered by our jurisdiction partners. You will be trained in simple practices business can do to green their operations so you can help them make changes to reduce their emissions and utility costs.


  • Research and contact small to medium sized business owners in target areas to pitch the Green Business Program and encourage them to participate;
  • Follow-up with businesses whose Green Business certification has expired to encourage them to renew;
  • Identify and participate in community events and functions in order to recruit business owners to the program;
  • Participate in meetings with local jurisdiction agency partners to identify their support needs and confirm progress to goal;

Hours and Duration:

  • Part-time, approximately 12 hours per week (less or more based around schedule and needs)
  • Occasional early mornings and weekend days
  • May/June 2018 start time through Spring 2019 (shorter placements can be arranged for example May 2018-August 2018, September 2018-December 2018, January 2019 -March 2019

 Required Qualifications, Skills & Experience:

  • Excellent customer service and communication skills
  • Ability to work remotely; self-driven and confident
  • Experience with Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Word, Outlook), Google Docs/Sheets, Business Skype
  • Ability to troubleshoot and work independently
  • Availability to work evenings and some weekend days as necessary

Desired Qualifications:

  • Enthusiasm for green practices and growing the green economy
  • Experience working in sales, environmental public education and/or community organizing
  • Familiarity with business community and community leaders in one or more regions of the tri-county region of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties
  • Bilingual Spanish language skills not required but preferred

Compensation: Academic course credit, mileage reimbursement and a $100 gift card for achievement of program goals.

Thank you for your interest in joining our dynamic team here at Ecology Action and supporting the growing Green Business network!

For more information sign-up here or contact Brooke Wright, Ecology Action, at

New Checklist Reduces Food Waste

If “food waste” was a country, it would rank third behind China and the United States in greenhouse gas production!  That surprising statistic from the EPA led the California Green Business Network to develop its newest Food Manufacturer checklist.  CAGBN worked on the project for the past year, receiving input from three food manufacturers workshops in Fresno, Los Angeles, and Stockton.  Watsonville’s H A Rider & Sons also gave valuable feedback, and will be one of the first businesses to use the checklist.  Strauss Creamery in Marin County has already achieved certification, Burn Hot Sauce in Santa Cruz is close to certification and eight other food manufacturers in Santa Cruz, Alameda, Fresno, Sonoma, and Ventura Counties are in progress.

Of course, food manufacturers aren’t responsible for all food waste – we can thank agricultural production, food service and institutions, wholesale and retail sources, and households for this too. Still, waste is significant in food manufacturing, and the Green Business Program can help businesses save both money and resources.  Some big ticket items to save energy and water include equipment that can adjust to take advantage of cooler outdoor temperatures, using less water for cleaning, and recycling water in produce cleaning. To avoid food waste, food manufacturers can also monitor the quality, safety and cleanliness of incoming shipments, and so avoid contamination and possible product recalls.

Congratulations to our new Food Manufacturing Green Businesses!

Breweries Now Able To Get Certified

Green Business Coordinators from across the state toured Seismic Brewing Co.

Small-to-medium-sized breweries are opening at an astounding rate. These breweries provide a valuable service to their local communities (is there a more noble pursuit than making people happy?) and serve as centers of community engagement. Breweries also tend to have a significant environmental impact due to their solid waste production, water needs, and energy use.

To address the sustainability opportunities for this growing industry, Green Business Coordinators from the City of Ventura and the City of Santa Cruz teamed up with breweries, brewery sustainability experts, and representatives from water, waste, and energy utilities to create a brewery-specific checklist that allows breweries to become Certified Green Businesses. This work relied heavily on existing sustainability best practices guide from the Brewers Association.

Two breweries have now been certified as Green Businesses: Leashless Brewing in Ventura, and Discretion Brewing in Santa Cruz, with more in the pipeline. Last month Green Business Program coordinators from across the state toured a brewery that is in the middle of the certification process, Seismic Brewing Co., and were able to see first-hand the efficiency and innovation possible at a mid-sized brewery. Heat capture, water reuse, wastewater treatment, and feeding spent grains to local livestock were just a few of the measures Seismic has implemented. Many of these measures are a win-win, cutting the cost and environmental impact of the brewing process. Tell your favorite local brewery to pursue a Green Business Certification, and support your local Green Businesses!


Green Business Innovation Across the State

If you appreciate ceramics, you’re likely already a fan of the Sausalito, California-based company, Heath Ceramics. From their early founding in 1948 by a husband and wife duo, Edith and Brian Heath, the company was all about innovation. Their early approach to kiln firings, saved energy and branded them as trail blazers in the industry. The company transitioned to another husband and wife duo in 2003, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey, who saw the potential for a holistic business model but have stuck to the original ethos of making good things for good people. Flash forward to 2018, and Heath has continued to innovate in the way their company relates to the environment.

Heath is on a Zero-Waste-to-Landfill journey and their recent California Green Business certification felt like the natural next step for them. The certification process allowed them to recognize the environmental efforts they already had in place and also helped them identify where they needed to make improvements. They are now investigating the use of solar power and also plan to improve their greywater processing system to use even more of their manufacturing waste in new products.

Some green practices they are most proud of include the fact that they reuse and recycle significant amounts of their manufacturing waste already. They also use a packaging material made of post-consumer waste material (no need for Styrofoam or plastic!). They have also shifted to 100% renewable energy and at the same time invested in their processing equipment and methods to reduce the amount of energy they use.

We recently chatted with Heath about all things Green Business and they had some great advice to pass on to other business owners who are interested in getting certified:

 The Green Business certification has created a framework for us channel our efforts towards the delivery of our green goals. While we do expect to see financial and other benefits, our main driver is to be an even more environmentally responsible business. The certification process and fantastic support received from the Green Business team has certainly generated good publicity and is hopefully highlighting to our customers, and other businesses alike, the approach that we’re taking towards these important issues at Heath.”

Going through the Green Business certification process for their San Francisco facility is a milestone in a long-term vision to keep innovating and making strides towards business practices that benefit their customer base and the environment. Find them online here or visit one of their stores today and make sure to thank them for joining the Green Business program!

New Rules for Restaurants in Santa Cruz County

To protect the environment, reduce litter and to encourage the recycling and composting of food service waste, the following rules have been approved by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

As of January 1, 2017: All to -go food service ware provided to customers in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County must be recyclable or compostable, as certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute. This includes:

  • No plastic straws (paper is acceptable)
  • No plastic stir sticks (wood is fine)
  • All cups (hot or cold) must be certified compostable
  • All to -go cutlery must be certified compostable
  • No Styrofoam
  • No #6 polystyrene products (including hot cup lids)
  • All to -go containers must be recyclable or certified compostable

These rules apply to restaurants, grocery stores, farmers markets, food trucks, special events and any other business or event where food is sold to go.

Talk to your food service supplier about available products. Many suitable products are available from major distributors. To be sure a product meets the requirements, check the web site of the Biodegradable Products Institute,

For more information, contact County Recycling and Solid Waste Services at (831) 454-2160 or go to the County web site at

Bag Ban: Coming to a store near you

California now has the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. The restrictions apply to large food retailers, pharmacies, corner markets and liquor stores but not restaurants or department stores.

Businesses can still offer paper bags and thicker plastic bags as long as they charge at least 10 cents for each of those items — a move crafted to encourage folks to tote their own reusable sacks.

Are you in compliance with this new law? For more information visit the CalRecycle’s FAQ.

Welcome new Green Business Staff!

We are happy to announce that the Counties of Santa Cruz and Monterey and the City of Watsonville have new coordinators who will be certifying green businesses. All three women can be described as community leaders – business advocates –  and environmentally conscious innovators. They each share a deep commitment to growing the tri-county Monterey Bay Green Business Program and to being your new trusted guide and resource for certifying or re-certifying your business. Welcome!

Stephanie Luna, Recycling Coordinator, Monterey County
Kalika Diaz, Green Business Program Coordinator, Santa Cruz County
 Hilda Peralta, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, City of Watsonville

How to Promote Your Recognition

Are you getting the most out of your green certification?

You’ve got your Green Business recognition. Now what? Use it to your advantage! Check out this video and info sheet for tips from recognized SF Green Businesses on how they promoted their recognition to grow the business and support their company’s image.
Save the date: Green Business Mixer September 2016

The next Santa Cruz City & County Green Business Mixer will be on Thursday October 27th, 5:30-7:30pm at Rosie McCann’s. Please mark your calendars.

Green Business Mixers are the spot to promote your business to potential clients, network to learn and share green business practices, and to connect with public agency staff.

Vector of Green Business

Composting to Expand in Santa Cruz County

header SC county composting site

Residents and businesses in Santa Cruz County are vivid recyclers, routinely recycling more than 70% of all the waste material collected in the County. Of the remaining waste, up to 40% is organic material, and the County is taking a number of steps to go after that, too. Under state law AB1826 businesses and schools are mandated to separate food waste.

The County has been working with local waste haulers to identify schools and businesses likely to be affected by this new requirement. If you have received a notification that you need to sign up for this service, or if you think you might fall under the new law, please call your waste hauler for more information about collection programs available to your business. There is a charge for the new organics collection service, but keep in mind that many businesses will be able to reduce their trash service to help offset this cost. If your waste hauler does not offer organics diversion, Green Waste recovery is offering this as a stand-alone service. Please contact Green Waste Recovery at 831.426.2711

While yard waste and food waste collected in Santa Cruz County are processed locally, there is no composting facility in the County permitted to accept food waste. The County is working with the local cities to develop a new composting facility. A number of regulatory agencies must approve such facilities, so the planning and permitting take time. The County hopes to have a local compost operation up and running by 2018.

For more resources on composting visit

CoolClimate Business Calculator

When is the last time you calculated your business’s carbon footprint?

The first step to reducing your impact on the environment is fully understanding it. That’s where UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate Program comes into play. “CoolClimate tools quickly identify the unique opportunities each individual, business, organization or community holds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Cool Climate Calculator
Cool Climate Calculator

The CoolClimate Business Calculator takes into account the size of your business/organization, employee commutes, company fleets (if applicable), utility use, travel, and more! Depending on your jurisdiction a completed carbon footprint is required for businesses over a certain size (e.g., in Santa Cruz, it’s required for businesses with over 30 employees).

Try it out today! Share your results with your Green Team and local Green Business Coordinator for tips on reducing your footprint.

CoolClimate Business Calculator:

Event: Celebrate Earth Day

ED2016logoEarth Day Santa Cruz is happening this Saturday, April 16th from 11am – 4pm in San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz. Earth Day Santa Cruz is an annual event to raise environmental awareness; address concerns; showcase solutions; and present balanced modes of living for the wellbeing of each individual, the community, and the planet. Come enjoy this fun environmental celebration for the whole family!

On the first Earth Day in 1970, 22 million Americans celebrated clean air, land, and water. The passage of the landmark Clean Air ActClean Water ActEndangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed.  More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

For more resources on being green, check out the Green Business Eco-Tips.

Save the Date: April Economic Development Summit

Attention small local businesses! This event is for you. 

82 percent summitSanta Cruz County Economic Development is pleased to announce the inaugural “82% – A Micro-Business Summit” event will be held April 22 at Cabrillo College. 500 local businesses will come together under one roof and walk away with the tools needed to make their businesses thrive and grow.

The daylong conference will feature a keynote speaker and two dozen education sessions to help small business owners navigate the marketplace to increase their exposure, grow their business and boost profitability.

When: Friday, April 22, 2016, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Where: Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Dr.

Further details will be released shortly, and new information can be followed by “Liking” the event’s Facebook page.

Half Price Ads Available for Certified Businesses

Interested in cutting the cost of your advertising and being featured as a local green business?Your Business Here

The Monterey Bay Green Business Program will be paying 50% of the cost for quarter page ad placement in the Good Times that feature a picture and quote from Certified business owners.  The program will develop and place the weekly ad making it simple for your business to participate. Your business would only need to provide a quote, coordinate a photo with the program and pay the discounted cost share for the weekly ad of $160.00.

Limited first come first served opportunities are available during this trial run of this new marketing approach. Interested businesses can contact Elise Ehrheart.

New Law Accelerates Organics Recycling

Compost image2016 is going to be a big year for keeping organics (food and yard waste) out of our landfills, especially for businesses. In 2014 the State of California passed AB 1826, requiring businesses to recycle their organic waste and not put it in the garbage. Businesses with that dispose of high levels of organics every week have to separate it starting April 1, 2016 as others phase in later in the year. California disposes approximately 30 million tons of waste in landfills each year, of which more than 30 percent could be used for compost or mulch.

Businesses can comply with these requirements in several ways, such as composting on site, using a landscaper that takes green material to a permitted composter, or subscribing to an organics collection program from your local waste hauler. For more information on organics recycling in your area contact your local waste hauler or City/County government.Cal Recycle

Your Green Business is Part of Something Big
CAGBP ImageDid you know there are 3,000 small businesses Certified Green throughout the State of California? Our local program is part of a statewide network of 24 programs that make up the California Green Business Network. The changes we are all making together in small businesses add up to big outcomes:
  • Cut $30M each year off business’ utility bills
  • Reduced over 800,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to planting 43,583 acres of trees
  • Enough kilowatt-hours saved to power 25,000 houses for an entire year
  • Over 400,000 metric tons of waste diverted from the landfill
  • 124 million gallons of water saved
  • Over 28,000 gallons of hazardous waste eliminated
The program is receiving increased interest from the state to help expand our services so all California’s small businesses can receive the assistance and promotion they deserve when they, like you, do the good work of Going Green.
Wanted: Small Businesses to Test Energy-Efficiency App

Energy Savings Green ImageAs many small business owners may know, bringing in an energy auditor to test your energy usage can be a cumbersome process and potentially cost prohibitive. EnergyAi® is an on-line service which analyzes energy meter data to identify opportunities for cost and CO2 savings. They are developing a version targeted to small businesses, and are looking for volunteers to give them feedback.

Small businesses will receive a report which shows their current business usage patterns, and the savings potential from simple operational changes. They’ll ask for your input on the analysis and report.

There’s no hardware or software to install, and no charge to volunteers. The only requirements are that you are a PG&E electricity customer and are willing to share your energy data with them (EnergyAi® is a registered PG&E “Share My Data” third party).

They are looking for 5 small businesses. Interested in participating? Please contact Dave Krinkel, Founder, EnergyAi® at email or 510-847-6103.