Green Business Resources

Community Development Agency

The following local resources have been compiled in order to aid businesses in meeting the green business standards. The resource list generally follows the outline of the checklists so as you work through it, check here for assistance. The Marin County Green Business Program provides this information not as a recommendation of any companies listed below but as a service to those looking for assistance in implementing green measures in their facilities. It is not an exhaustive list.

 

General Assistance

  • iReuse - A Marin Green Business that offers sustainability and efficiency consulting services for a fee. Note: applicants are not required to work with any fee basedfirm or organization to achieve certification. This link is provided for information only.
  • Marin Small Business Development Center (Marin SBDC) - Do you have financial, operational or marketing questions about managing your business? Could you benefit from fresh independent advice regarding your business, product or service? With six outreach offices throughout Marin County and a focus on economic development, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides current and future business owners with FREE, confidential, one-to-one counseling, various low cost training programs and partial scholarships. Funded in part by the federal government (Small Business Administration) and the Marin County Board of Supervisors, the SBDC has helped thousands of North Bay business owners. It does not matter if the business owner works in an office, a retail store, a restaurant or from home. To learn about the SBDC's various services or to register for their programs, visit their web site, or call (415) 755-1100.
  • GreenBiz.com - The GreenBiz website has many useful reports, tools and articles. Their GreenBiz Essentials provides a series of easy-to-read overviews of to help businesses get started.
  • Cal Gold - This site provides businesses with information on permits and other requirements of California agencies at all levels of government, including addresses, telephone numbers, and links to agency internet web pages.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) - The SBA create a Green Business Guide for businesses interested in environmental responsibility. They provide articles on green business practices, eco-labeling, available loans/grants and green marketing.

Solid Waste & Recycling

Waste Audit/Services from Marin Sanitary

Marin Sanitary Service can help businesses located in Central Marin save some green by going green with complimentary and customizable services and products including FREE waste characterization studies, commercial recycling consultations, customizable recycling pick-ups, container options to fit various space constraints, and confidential paper shredding and recycling. Call Marin Sanitary Service to discuss options and resources - 415-485-1702.

Reduce Paper by Stopping Junk Mail

Reuse or Recycle Materials

General Recycling Information, Guides and Reuse Networks
Links to Local Haulers' Recycling Pages with Local Recycling Information
Construction Waste Recycling and Salvage
  • The Away Station - A local building materials reuse center at Fairfax Lumber.
  • Ohmega Salvage, Berkeley 510-843-7368
  • Global Material Recovery Services, Santa Rosa, 707-585-8246
  • Recycle Town, Petaluma, 707-795-3660
  • The Reuse People, Alameda, 510-383-1983
  • Whole House Building Supply, E. Palo Alto, 650-328-8731
  • Materials Exchange Sites:
    • CalMAX - connects businesses, organizations, manufacturers, schools, and individuals with online resources for exchanging materials.
Food Waste and Other Organics
  • Cal Recycle
  • ExtraFood.org - If you own or operate a a restaurant or grocery store (or any business that generates extra food) and often have excess food going to waste, partner with ExtraFood.org to make sure that excess food finds its way to a home in need. You can receive tax benefits and it's a simple way to make a difference in the community.
Reuse Packaging
  • Peanuts & Bubble Wrap - take to a local shipping store; they will usually accept them for free.

Purchase Recycled Content Products

Search Directory for All Categories: Cal Recycle

Office Products

Including copy paper, computer or fax paper; folders or other paper products; pencils, rulers or other desk accessories; boxes or bags for retail use or shipping.

Janitorial Supplies and Services
  • Green Seal - When evaluating janitorial supplies, Green Seal is a useful reference. It is an independent, non-profit organization that evaluates and recognizes less toxic products.
  • Janiline - Cleaning Supply Company and a Marin Certified Green Business.
Food Service Supplies

Including biodegradable cutlery, plates and to-go containers.

  • Biodegradable Products Institute - A useful site for leaning about biodegradable products and searching for products.
  • SF Environment's Composting - The City of San Francisco's Department of the Environment has an excellent site that including information on compostable products and links vendors of compostable foodware.

Benches Playground or Picnic Equipment

  • Cal Recycle - provides information on vendors that manufacture outdoor equipment with recycled content.

Recycled Content and Reused Construction and Building Materials

  • The Away Station - a local building materials reuse center at Fairfax Lumber.
  • Urban Ore -accepts donations and sells salvaged building materials for reuse.

Energy Conservation

No-Cost Energy Audits

  • Smart Lights - They are funded by the state to provide free energy audits to businesses and can also help pay for up to 75% of energy efficiency upgrades. Call 510-981-7750 to request a free energy audit.
  • OR, call PG&E - call the PG&E customer service line to schedule a free business facility audit (800) 468-4743.

Equipment/Facility & Employee Practice Changes:

  • PG&E Rebates - Cash back when small and medium sized businesses buy and install energy-efficient equipment, such as lighting, HVAC and refrigeration.    
  • Energy Star - This web site is a "one stop shop" for energy conservation information and products. It provides access for buying energy efficient products, analyzing energy use, finding contractors for energy services, choosing green power and getting rebates. The site filters data by zip code so that the search results are from other businesses in your area. Products in more than 40 categories are eligible for the Energy Star logo. They use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment. This page provides details and lists of Energy Star products in categories including appliances, HVAC and electronics.
  • Food Service Technology Center - The FSTC is the industry leader in commercial kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing. At this site you can access information about high efficiency kitchen appliances, find rebates for equipment, request no-cost surveys of your facility. 

Financing Energy Efficiency Projects

  • PG&E 0% Interest Loans - Businesses can borrow between $5,000 and $100,000 for energy efficiency upgrades and repay the loan on their utility bill. Some restrictions apply on equipment type. Upgrades must qualify for a rebate or incentive through a PG&E program.
  • Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing - Commercial property owners can finance renewable energy, energy efficiency, and some seismic improvement projects through PACE financing.

Renewable Energy and Green Tags

  • Marin Solar Program - The County provides outreach and education to residents, businesses and public agencies throughout Marin on technology, financing, incentives and site suitability.
  • Marin Clean Energy - MCE offers three clean energy options to customers: Light Green provides 50% green, renewable energy from sources like solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass; Deep Green provides 100% power from these clean energy sources; and Local Sol offers 100% locally-produced solar energy.
  • Green-e.org - Offers information on purchasing Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs or "green tags"). Each unique certificate represents all of the environmental attributes or benefits created when electricity is generated from renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, that release air pollution. Includes list of companies that sell TRCs.

Tracking Energy & Water Use

Energy

PG&E provides useful tools for business customers, including an online Business Energy Checkup that will enable you to review your monthly spending, track estimated usage by type equipment, and create an Energy Savings Plan.

Water

You can use your monthly bills and create a sheet either in excel or on paper to track usage each month.

Water Conservation

Free Water Audits

  • Marin Municipal Water District - MMWD's Conservation Assistance Program offers free onsite water use surveys to help you find ways to reduce water use at your business. Schedule an appointment or call 415-945-1523.
  • North Marin Water District - Call 897-4133, option 5 (water conservation)

Water Conservation Measures

  • MMWD Resources & Rebates - The district has a variety of incentive programs including rebates to purchase water efficient toilets, commercial dishwashers and clothes washers.
  • North Marin Water District Resources & Rebates - The district has an incentive program to assist commercial customers with the purchase of water efficient toilets.
  • ULF Toilet Information - The Flex Your Power website provides tips and information on the current ultra-low flow toilet technology.

Landscaping Conservation

  • MMWD Landscaping Resources - The district provides information on water-wise plants, design of efficient irrigation systems, water waste prevention and incentives for installation of artificial playing surfaces.
  • Bay Area Green Business Directory - search under: "Home & Building Maintenance " and then "Landscape Design & Maintenance "

Pollution Prevention

Greening Your Cleaning

  • Bay Area Green Business Directory - search under: "Home & Building Maintenance " and then "Cleaning/Custodial Services & Supplies "
  • Janiline - Cleaning Supply Company. A Marin Certified Green Business.
  • Green Seal - When evaluating janitorial supplies, Green Seal is a useful reference. It is an independent, non-profit organization that evaluates and recognizes less toxic products.
  • The Good Guide - For smaller companies looking for a tool to evaluate common household cleaners, he Good Guide is a great resource. Look for products with rating of at least 8.1.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

  • EcoWise - certified pest control professionals who practice prevention-based pest control, minimizing the use of pesticides. IPM service providers are listed on their website.
  • Our Water Our World - This regionally sponsored website helps residents and businesses manage pest in a way that helps protect Our Water - Our World. The site includes tips on specific pests and how to manage them without using hazardous materials, information on where to buy safer alternatives to pesticides and an "Ask the Expert" feature.
  • MCSTOPPP - The Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program has information on less toxic pest management including where to buy less toxic products in Marin.
  • Safety Source for Pest Management - The National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides produces this website that provides excellent information on pesticide ingredients, less toxic alternatives and information on choosing a pest management provider.

Low-Emission Building Materials

  • Build It Green - A Bay Area non-profit center with a searchable database to find local retailers of low-emission and green building products.

Recycle/reuse Hazardous Substances

  • Marin Recycling Guide - Zero Waste Marin has created a searchable database to find drop-off locations for all types of materials including hazardous waste like batteries, fluorescent tubes and e-waste.
  • Marin Household Hazardous Waste Facility & Drop-off - Paint, adhesives, motor oil, pesticides, batteries, latex paint, computer monitors, televisions and bleach cleaners. Residents of Marin County, with the exception of Novato, may bring these hazardous materials for free to the facility at 565 Jacoby Street in San Rafael. Businesses may dispose of small quantities of hazardous waste by appointment and for a fee. Please call the facility for a list of approved materials and to make arrangements.
  • Novato Household Hazardous Waste Facility & Drop-off - Household cleaners, paint & building products, lawn & garden products, televisions and computer monitors. Novato residents and small businesses can drop off hazardous wastes on the first and third Sunday and Mondays of each month. An appointment is necessary - to schedule, call (415) 892-7344.

Prevent Stormwater Run-Off

  • Label Stormwater Drains - Check the storm drains near your business. If they do not have the blue fish that says "No Dumping, Flows to the Bay", visit MCSTOPPP's Stormwater Contact page to find out who to contact to request free stenciling.

Help Reduce Air Emissions

  • Spare the Air - Employers can do a lot to Spare the Air by joining Spare the Air Employer Program. The Spare the Air Employer Network consists of employer coordinators informing their workforce of impending Spare the Air days, educating employees about the ways individuals can improve air quality, and motivating them to take action.
  • Marin Green Commute Alternatives - The Transportation Authority of Marin has created several local programs designed to help Marin residents and workers reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips to and from work. There are programs which can encourage pooled-transportation options and provide assurances to make transit use and carpool/vanpool transport more convenient.
  • Marin Emergency Ride Home - The Marin Emergency Ride Home (ERH) Program provides a FREE ride home in cases of emergency for employees who use alternative transportation, such as carpooling, vanpooling, public transit, bicycling, and walking. ERH eases the worry of being stranded at the office if an unexpected situation arises, so commuters can leave their cars at home! All Marin businesses are eligible to participate in this free program.
  • 511.org - This site provides useful information public transit, rideshares, traffic and bicycling. Visitors can enter their start and destination to find the best route via public transit.
  • Fuel Economy Database - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a tool that will allow you to compare new and used car models' gas mileage, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings and safety information.
  • Biodiesel - The National Biodiesel Board provides information on technology, incentives and where to purchase biodiesel.
  • Northbay Family Homes - Provides education and resources to assist working families in buying a home closer to the workplace, including down payment assistance and loan counseling.