Greening is a term that’s tough to define, and it’s getting more confusing for buyers every day. I try to keep it simple: being “green” means making decisions that are better: making decisions that have a positive environmental impact, no matter how big or small that impact is.
How did you get started in green business?
When I first moved to Boulder at age 25, I started seeing a few “corn cups” around town (disposable cups that are compostable, and made from corn, rather than regular petroleum-plastic cups) from a local manufacturer called Eco-Products. When my dad was out for a visit from Oregon, I was raving to him about the cups while we were enjoying a coffee in the afternoon. He said he’d never seen me so excited about a product before, and told me I should really look at working there. The next day, I jumped online to research positions, and four weeks later I started with Eco-Products as their local sales rep!
Why did you choose to supply Greenhome.com?
At National Eco Wholesale (NEW), we pride ourselves on finding products that are good for the planet, and easy for consumers to switch to, whether that’s a reusable lunch box to replace a paper sack, or an organic fertilizer to help keep our streams and families safe. Greenhome.com seems to share these values: make it easy, and make it better. That’s why we chose to support and supply Green Home.
What do you and your company do in your own life and operations to walk the walk?
I believe that it’s most important for business and companies to take small steps that are easy to stick with, and that’s what I encourage at NEW and in my home. In the office, we are a zero-waste facility, which means that we recycle and compost as much as possible, and try to send the least amount of waste to the landfills. Whenever new employees come on board, I take it upon myself to educate them about their trash, and despite them thinking that I’m crazy for digging through waste, they recognize that our goals and our actions are in line with our mission. We are also led by example, and are fortunate to have a President who gets around town by his hybrid Prius, or on his electric scooter.
In my home, I am focused on recycling, and using natural and organic products when it makes sense, both for the environment, and for my wallet. I stopped eating meat, and try to purchase only locally grown produce from my neighborhood farmers market. I tried my own gardening too, but have decided that it’s best left to the professionals! My husband and I drive rarely, carpool frequently, and do our part to preserve the environment and the nature around us that we love. We also volunteer to pick up litter, build trails, and encourage recycling at Red Rocks, the most beautiful, natural music venue in Colorado!
What is the best greening advice you can give our customers?
The best greening advice that I can provide a customer is to make small steps that you can stick with. The changes that you make in your life must be easy for you to implement and must be financially feasible, in order to stick with them. And, if everyone makes small changes, we’ll start to see a big impact! Explore your local farmers markets, plant some trees, volunteer to help clean up your neighborhood park, ride a bike to work once a week, and make smart purchasing choices when it’s time to buy something new!
What’s your personal favorite of your products that Greenhome.com carries?
I love kitchen- and tableware products from Preserve! The products are brightly colored, incredibly durable and work great! Best of all, they are manufactured in the US, are created from 100% recycled plastic, and are priced the same or better than their non-green counterparts. Preserve is the perfect example of a company producing green products in a sustainable way, providing value to consumers, and protecting the environment.
What’s been the biggest change in the green sector since you got started?
Growth and awareness! “Green” is a booming industry, and consumers are definitely recognizing that their dollars speak. Consumers are also becoming more knowledgeable about what constitutes a “green” product, and what may be a green product in disguise (which I refer to as “greenwashing”). The abundance of products and services available to this conscious consumer base has grown dramatically over the last five years.
Do you really think green products make a big difference and why?
I absolutely believe that green products make a difference, particularly those that save resources, provide for waste diversion, or reduce a carbon footprint. But, consumers must recognize that it’s not just green products that will save our planet; it’s also the decisions that we make on a daily basis. It’s important to recognize that simply buying a new green product isn’t always going to be the best option; for example, if you’re doing a makeover on a room in your home, don’t go out and buy all new furniture made of eco-friendly bamboo, but rather look at what you can reuse and repurpose from your existing set.
Do you think consumers now are aware green products exist, or is there still a lot more education to do?
Many consumers are aware of green products, but there will always be a need for more education. New technologies, challenges and solutions arise, and it’s up to sellers and educators to keep consumers informed.
If you could invent a green product that doesn’t exist, what would it be?
Melissa Hauser, National Eco Wholesale