I see no reason to spend money to prove I am Green. Anyone who has ever visited my home, my studio, seen what I am wearing, seen my art or heard me talk knows I’ve been an environmentalist before that term was coined. I’m a member of the Green political party. That’s hardcore.
I could not be an artist without being VERY conscious of my budget and my impact on the world. I was recycling artist before I became a photographer. I routinely used what others threw out to decorate my room when growing up, then my apt, and always my art.
I earned a BA in Art at CSUN. My WHOLE Master of Fine Art’s project was made from discarded yarns and cloth. I don’t use toxic items for my art, my personal life, my home, nothing. Vinegar and baking soda are my fave cleaners.
I have been a Green and an environmentalist since before the terms were coined. My parents were always ashamed of me because I bought from thrift stores and bragged about it. I found discarded pieces of wood at lumber yard and made art in high school. I used discarded yarns from fellow students when I wove in college. I buy remnants at cloth stores. I reuse clothes for art projects. My home is full of old, recycled furniture. I routinely bring things home I find in the street, clean them up, use them or give to thrift stores, neighbors or friends. My clothes, although in good condition, are old and many from thrift stores. Why buy new and throw clothes into landfills? I rarely throw anything out if I can reuse.
This list is from The Green Photographer. I modified it per my experience. I don’t have a house, so I have no control over items like landscaping, cleaning dryer vents, etc. My clothes, furniture, art supplies, photo props, household supplies are from thrift stores, often found while walking, retrieved from the trash if on the top.
I WAS RAISED BY A NURSE with VERY strict sanitation procedures. I use NON-toxic house cleaning, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, toothpaste, etc. I READ LABELS. Those who want to certify ME don’t know me. I read Silent Spring years ago. I read Diet for a Small Planet.
I’m a raw foods vegan who takes personal, professional and environmental health issues very seriously. Ya want references? Write me. Test me. This is a great idea, but SOME people have been Green their whole life.
Here’s my modified list.
Certification involves a comprehensive review
We will review your Environmental Responsibility, including how your business:
• Complies with all applicable environmental regulations: of course. I live in Santa Monica, with very strict rules. The City Attorney will tell you I’m always asking them for stricter enforcement of anti-smoking laws.
• Prevents Pollution: yeah, been there, doing that.
• Reduces waste: I rarely have to take out the trash. I buy food in bulk, rarely containers. I clean and use glass bottles for storage. Those I don’t need, I give to room-mates or neighbors. I rarely buy anything in a plastic container. I cut apart boxes and put into the downstairs recycling bin, along with my other paper trash. Takes a week to fill a small trash container in my home and studio. Is that good enough?
• Tracks resource use, e.g. energy, water, recycling and waste production: what? I work online, take digital photos, order online, meet w/clients online. This is not some big business with employees and waste.
• Conserves energy, water and other natural resources: that’s my middle name.
• Controls chemicals & hazardous materials: what chemicals and hazardous waste?
• Sources materials, products and services used throughout your business: what? You want to see my receipts?
• Protects public health and the environment: I told you, I was raised very strictly. My mother wouldn’t let me go to school if I had a cold. She didn’t want me to infect others. Next.
We will review your Social Responsibility, including how your business:
• Verifies the fair treatment of human resources used to produce products you buy, use and sell: Excuse me? I’m a one woman photographer, sharing tips ONLINE. I’ve encourage people to use online resources. I am constantly asked to meet in person. I actually am shocked at that! I tell everyone: skype or oovoo. Saddens me people are not into that. Who wants to be stuck in traffic, wasting gas and polluting the environment? I won’t do it.
• Educates and encourages employees and customers: you really don’t know me, do you?
• Assists other businesses with introducing green practices: of course.
• Involves itself with the community: OH PLEASE, do not insult me! I’ve been contributing to my community. I welcome new business and residents in my building. I printed a list of local stores, farmer’s markets, art events, etc so they can buy locally. I help my neighbors with a variety of issues. I promote local businesses in my walks and interaction with ppl in my hood. Ask the marketing manager of my health food store, the Santa Monica Co-Op. I’m a lifetime member. I always share marketing tips, feedback and photos.
The Three “R”s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reducing is the most important of the Three R’s to focus on initially. It has the biggest impact and can have significant cost savings for your business.
• I use only digital cameras – Film production and processing requires a lot of harsh chemicals. I have not photographed with film for 20 years.
• Use a local online printing provider instead of printing yourself. IF there were a local online printer, I’d do it! I tried for YEARS to support local printers. They are all out of business. BUT I do ‘gang’ my orders, so I save on postage and minimal carbon footprint.
• I encourage clients to only print images they need on paper.
• I turn off all lights when not in use. My eyes are very sensitive. I use less light than most.
• I replaced incandescent bulbs with Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs) when they first became available over 20 years ago.
• I replaced older florescent fixtures with newer energy-efficient ones
• I buy in bulk or buy items with reduced / recyclable packaging: I buy produce from farmer’s market. Dried goods such as rice, chia, flax seed, protein powders, etc in bulk at local cooperative market.
• I only take public transit or walk
• I reduce travel by using online conferencing. I hate being on the road, traffic is not my friend.
• I removed my name from mailing lists: https://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/
I was interviewed by a documentarian because I used to blog about this all the time. I receive NO junk mail. United States Post Office has it on record they are not to deliver any bulk mail.
• I installed water restrictors on faucets and shower heads for the last 20 years
• As an apartment dweller, the issue of landscaping is out of my jurisdiction
• I am known for carrying a metal water bottle everywhere. I never buy bottled water.
I carry my own plates, utensils, napkins
• I always purchase longer lasting products, being budget and environmentally conscious.
• Buy energy efficient appliances and durable goods
• Buy locally produced goods and buy from local stores: that includes local farmer’s market. I buy locally so much I can tell you who sells what where. I walk for miles to buy locally.
• Avoid purchasing products that have a lot of packaging or have to be shipped to you
• My cleaning supplies are wood or grain based vinegar (others are petroleum based), baking soda, Borax and Dr Bonner’s organic cleaning supplies. .
• Chemical Management: I do not purchase hazardous chemicals.
• Have appliances cleaned and serviced regularly to improve performance. My landlord notes I cleaned the apartment dryer filters prior and after each use. He remarked he wished others did the same. I bought a brush to clean under my refrigerator to improve air-flow. There is always proper space around appliances that need to dissipate heat.
• I turn off all electronic devices when not in use, including computers, printers, fax machines and copiers.
• I only print business cards as I need them. A ream of paper lasts years. Print less, e-mail more. I use e-mail marketing to everyone. I have been online since 1992.
• I always take stairs instead of the elevator. Get some exercise while saving energy.
• I added a line at the bottom of your e-mail signature asking users to consider the environment before printing it. It serves as a constant reminder to others not to waste paper.
Some additions to this list:
Library books, magazines and DVDs rather than purchasing them. I often donate to the library and charitable thrift stores.
Clothes never go out of style. Most of my clothes, esp for networking, going to art shows and taking photos, are ten to twenty years old. I take very good care of my clothes.
Jewelry, purses, shoes: I buy minimally. I only buy purses to carry my photo gear and shoes when a pair finally wears out and are not reparable. People always compliment me on what I wear. Surprises me, cos when I say, “oh this old thing?” it really is old. I do not throw much away!
• Purchase reusable products, such as rechargeable batteries, washable towels
• Purchase used products, it saves money and provides a path for reuse: I already wrote I’ve been going to thrift stores since I was a young girl. That’s over FIFTY years!
• Save packing material you receive and reuse for shipping: I have boxes in my bedroom labeled with various bubble paper, tissues, and plastic bags obtained from products.
• Print on both sides, write notes on scrap paper: I rarely print, so what scrap paper? I DO input notes into the computer. I have Project Management software to track my to-dos, contact, calendar. What scraps of paper?
• Reuse binders and file folders: I have boxes of office supplies I reuse. I got them when businesses went out of sale and were discards.
• Use reusable shopping bags, provide reusable bags to your customers: I never leave home without my backpack and recycled or canvas bags. I have been doing that for about 25 years.
• Use resealable containers instead of plastic bags: I use glass containers because it’s healthierthan plastic.
• Use washable towels, cloth napkins, and table cloths instead of disposables: of course I wash my towels.
• Reuse newspapers as packing material for shipping or moving: I don’t use newspapers at all.
• Reuse clothing by donating them, turning them into doll’s clothes or using them as rags. I previously addressed this.
• Sell it or donate it so someone else gets use out of it: I previously addressed this re charitable thrift stores
• Avoid reusing items designed for one-time use, such as plastic water/soda bottles. Studies have shown that reuse of these can release chemicals when they are in less than perfect condition. Yikes, that is why I avoid not only water/soda bottles, but food in plastic containers. I don’t believe ANY disposable plastic containers are healthy.
• Choose to buy recycled and recyclable products: oh please, you are preaching to the choir.
• Purchase paper with at least 30% recycled content. Try 100% recycled content, but it may cause excess jams in some older printers/copiers. Yes, next.
• Recycle paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum cans, plastics, bottles, etc: I put glass and paper into our apartment recycling bins.
• Recycle plastic grocery bags by returning them to the store, or better yet, bring your own reusable bag to the store with you: Santa Monica and soon Los Angeles don’t offer plastic grocery bags. Next.
• Avoid purchasing juice “boxes”, as they are made up of a complex mixture of paper, plastic and metal that is difficult to recycle: I AVOID all those boxes, don’t trust they are healthy.
• Avoid Styrofoam containers, as they are not recyclable! Gee, who buys styrofoam these days?
• Recycle ink & toner cartridges and buy refilled cartridges. HP provides return envelopes with many of their products and some office supply stores offer discounts if you return cartridges. ALWAYS returned toner cartridges, but because I don’t print often, that is rarely.
• Make recycling easy for your staff by placing bins in convenient locations around the facility: what staff?
• Recycle batteries: my library and local health food store, our cooperative, have bins for batteries.
• Recycle E-Waste* – Televisions, Cellular Phones, PDAs, iPods, Computers, Video Game Consoles, Sound Systems, Consumer Electronics: always, but I don’t use a TV, PDA, video game, etc. I’ve kept all that to a minimum. When I decided to stop watching TV, I found residents in 2 apartments in my building to take the TVs.
• Recycle Paint – Can be recycled by reprocessing or reblending. Not applicable.
• Recycle automotive fluids, tires and car batteries: Not applicable. When I had a car, the repair shops did that. We have strong environmental laws in place.
• Recycle eyeglasses: I give to places who give glasses to those who cannot afford them.
• Florescent products contain mercury that cannot be processed by normal curbside recycling. Recycle florescent tubes and CFLs by taking them to a recycling center or hardware store that has a recycle bin specifically for florescent products.
• Save packing material you receive and reuse for shipping: did I already talk about this?
• Save yard waste and organic kitchen scraps for use in Composting: I wish, but I’m in an apartment and no composting.
• Recycle old appliances. If recycling an old refrigerator or air conditioner, make sure that the recycler can handle removing the refrigerant properly: Not applicable.
This list is based on several “certification” programs available for several hundred dollars. Sounds likes an n interesting business to start. I’m as certified as they come. Walking the walk and saving money is conserving too!
IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY. I’ve other ways of investing my money into my business. I see NO reason I should pay someone to verify what I have been doing for all my life. To quote that great movie, Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Badges, I don’t need no stinkin’ badges.”