Business Bites

Business Bites

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.