The San Benito County Arts Council might have other nonprofits feeling green with envy.
The arts council is the first nonprofit organization in San Benito County to earn a California Green Business certification, as announced this week by San Benito County Integrated Waste Management, which helps to guide the process for local businesses to achieve the milestone.
Organizations must meet a checklist of environmentally friendly measures in order to achieve the Green Business certification. They must accomplish two tiers of requirements in order to reach the full certification, which is a state and national program.
Local businesses that have achieved the certification include Jayleaf, Suprema, Body Mechanics Massage Studio and Fisher’s Restaurant, which recently received the honor as well. Lolla in San Juan Bautista is close to accomplishing the certification, too, said Celena Stotler, the recycling and green business coordinator with Integrated Waste Management.
Jennifer Laine, the arts council’s executive director, said the organization felt like seeking the certification was the right thing to do.
“There weren’t any major obstacles telling us not to do it,” Laine said. “It’s definitely in line with our organizational values to do good in the world.”
The arts council actually oversees two sites where it had to pass the test for the certification, its main office at 240 Fifth St. and the ARTspace Annex at 217 Fifth St.
Some of the steps the nonprofit had to take included switching out to water-wise toilets, switching light bulbs to LED, changing paper products to recyclable content and putting aerators on faucets to reduce waste, Laine said.
Organizations like the arts council can get help from local entities such as the Water Resources Association of San Benito County and Recology, said Stotler, who has reached out to dozens of businesses about the prospect.
Kathleen Gallagher, the regional agency manager for Waste Management, said the agency brought the program “back to life” last August, after years of dormancy, with Stotler coming on board. Gallagher pointed out another benefit for businesses beyond the environmental factors.
“It also saves businesses money,” she said. “We definitely see it as economic development.”