Green business program launches
The Village of Patchogue recently launched the first-of-its-kind Green Business Program as a voluntary initiative for all businesses within the village. According to trustee and Protecting the Environment of Patchogue chair Joseph Keyes, the program was designed to showcase environmentally friendly businesses for becoming sustainable leaders.
“The idea was to stay away from another mandate,” said Keyes, referencing the village’s ban on single-use plastic bags in 2016 and then Styrofoam earlier this year. “Instead, we want to try to change people’s mindset and hopefully have businesses want to join.”
Of the first to sign up were the BrickHouse and Blue Point breweries.
“It really was no surprise that the BrickHouse was one of the first,” said Keyes, explaining that BrickHouse was also the first restaurant to recycle their spent grains through Brookhaven Town’s Brew to Moo program last year. “They were also one of the first restaurants to take a chance on Main Street right after the theatre opened.”
BrickHouse Brewery opened on Main Street in Patchogue in 1996. Since then, co-owner George Hoag said they have been at the forefront of environmental measures, jumping on board with the plastic bag and Styrofoam bans, recycling cardboard, installing LED lighting, and now banning plastic straws and looking into how to recycle food waste.
“We just thought this was a great idea,” he said as to why he signed up. “We are looking into more green initiatives and just trying to do everything we can.”
Guidelines for those who enroll include using plastic alternatives for straws, cups and utensils, proper cooking oil waste removal, LED lighting and more. Basically, Keyes said businesses can put as much into the program as they want to after meeting criteria based off a point system. He also said though restaurants can rack up the most points with the largest footprint, any village business is encouraged to join.
According to David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, the village currently has about 300 businesses, of which 30 to 40 percent are restaurants.
“I think it’s a great initiative. Patchogue is a community on the waterfront and I feel we are on the front lines and need to be more aware,” he said of the program. “All businesses should learn a few tips on how to be a little more green, and once we start to see how much attention these businesses are getting, more businesses will want to participate.”
PEP, the committee charged with implementing the program, lists the following benefits of the program: green business decal for establishment’s window, permission to use logo on any business promotion, recognition on village’s website, establishment of an environmental leader on PEP’s social media pages, networking opportunities, and access to resources including environmental education, sustainable products and cost savings.
Applications for the program are currently available on the village’s website. Upon completion of the application, a scheduled site visit with a PEP committee member will be conducted. The establishment will visually demonstrate compliance to the PEP committee members, which will determine program acceptance. VOPGB membership will then give the establishment a two-year term membership. The PEP committee will review if a renewal site visit is necessary.
If successful, PEP will expand the program to residences using the acronym GREEN (Green Resolution for Environmentally Efficient Neighborhoods) in the future. The program, Keyes said, was modeled after a New York State initiative found online, however, he could not find anyone implementing it yet.
Businesses interested in enrolling can get more info by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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