Worm composting, reusing granite and fair-trade handicrafts are some of the efforts that have earned seven organizations the first-ever designation of Certified Green Partner with Johnson County.
The groups, which include retailers, a web design company and a college, were recognized Thursday for their efforts to decrease waste, recycle and improve energy efficiency. The certification is part of the county’s efforts to encourage recycling as a part of its solid waste management program.
The Certified Green Partners program is new this year in the county’s environmental division. To become “certified green,” a business, church, school or any other group can sign up for the program and arrange an assessment by county environmental experts who offer advice on how to increase recycling and reduce waste. Progress is then tracked and certification awarded if the county’s criteria are met.
Although the word “certification” is in the title, it’s not a regulatory type of certification. The designation is more of a marketing tool and point of pride for the groups that achieve it, said Julie Davis, environmental program manager for the county.
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Certified Green Partners began last September as an outgrowth of the county’s Green Business program, which is about 4 years old, Davis said. Both are part of an effort to reduce waste, which is a goal of the county’s solid waste management program, she said.
The program gives recommendations to local groups and sets standards they have to meet to be certified. In addition, some financial assistance is available. Organizations can get up to $500 of materials in support of reducing waste.
So, for example, a small business wanting to install hand dryers to cut out paper towels could apply for that aid. In that case, the county would verify that need and the assistance would come in the form of the county-purchased dryers or a reimbursement, Davis said.
The seven organizations were the first to be recognized as the program gets its official launch, she said, but there are more in the pipeline. About a dozen more may be certified in the next three to six months, she said.
Certified Green Partners
▪ Go Green Granite of Olathe, a company that finds new uses for granite that would otherwise be thrown out.
▪ Lifted Logic of Overland Park for worm composting of food scraps in the break room and use of cloth napkins.
▪ Johnson County Community College, for diverting almost half of its waste from the landfill, composting food on-site and getting rid of Styrofoam from the cafeteria.
▪ Ten Thousand Villages of Overland Park, a fair trade retailer selling handicrafts made by people in impoverished areas.
▪ Downtown Overland Park Partnership for its use of green cleaning products and for promoting green practices among member businesses.
▪ MARCK Recycling of Gardner, a facility that recycles more than 80 types of materials and finds end markets for recyclables.
▪ The Land Source, a real estate company that recycles and recently used reclaimed lumber in a renovation.