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Alameda County: Proud to be Green

Following are the Green Businesses previously features in our Green Stars update:

2007's Green Stars are:

Goza Gear
Teleosis Institute

2006's Green Stars are:

Transcendentist
Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, LLP

Click here to view this month's featured Green Business Stars

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Goza Gear

1141 Catalina Drive #299
Livermore, CA 94550
925-371-6732
www.gozagear.com

Goza Gear, certified since 2003, is a Livermore based screen-printing business. Owners Steve and Bonnie Melgoza's ardent pursuit of cleaner cottons and safer printing inks recently gained the attention of the East Bay Business Times, which aptly describes their story below:

Motivation for becoming certified as a Bay Area Green Business: The requirements of certification correspond to their core values, and they were already implementing the recommended measures. They saw the certification as strengthening their bottom line through conservation and efficiency, giving them an edge over the competition and solidifying their status as an environmental leader.

Together, Steve and Bonnie Melgoza have built Goza Gear into one of the greenest companies of its kind - and one that is experiencing rapid growth.

Steve Melgoza told his customers about his environmentally friendly practices, which include the use of nontoxic water-based inks, citrus- and soy-based solvents and organic cotton. Goza Gear, in fact, was the first certified "green" screen-printing shop in California. During the first few years, none of this mattered much to potential customers turned off by the fact that some of Goza's products cost twice as much as those of his competitors. Melgoza told them the price was justified because it reflected the "true" cost of the products. He explained that regular cotton harmed the water supply and environment and that this was not reflected in the final price.

He even went so far as to document what he was doing for the environment. He calculates that he diverted 690 pounds of toxins in 2005, and more than 800 pounds in just the first half of this year. The products are also friendlier to labor. The manufacturers of green clothing, including those used by Goza, do not use "sweat shops." His explanations fell on deaf ears, at least for the first few years. "It was a challenge selling something that I truly believed in but nobody else did," he said.He did not get discouraged. "He kept saying, 'It's coming, it's coming,'" Bonnie Malgoza said.

And indeed, it did. As organic foods became more popular with consumers, people and companies became interested in everything green, including clothes. Steve Melgoza believes that clothing will be the next big green trend, and there are already signs of a breakthrough. Their business has doubled this year, spurred in part by companies that are seeking environment-friendly contractors. Business from Goza's Web site has soared more than 75 percent during the first part of 2006. The Melgozas estimate that 25 percent of their customers in 2006 are "green," up from 17 percent in 2005.

As business prospects improved, Bonnie Melgoza joined Goza Gear full-time six years ago to help with the books and do embroidery work on T-shirts and other products. Their children, Robert, 31, Renee, 32, and her husband, Wayne Gregory, all of Livermore, also work part-time at Goza Gear. While they have not necessarily replaced their salaries from the corporate world, they are getting close.

They have become active in several organizations, including the Sustainable Business Alliance, the Tri-Valley Haven women's shelter, and Relay for Life, a breast cancer fund raiser.

Meanwhile, Steve keeps up the drumbeat about green clothes. "More and more people are thinking about what they are eating. We want them to start thinking about what they are wearing, too," he said.

 

 

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Teleosis Institute

1521 B 5th Street,
Berkeley, CA 94710
510-558-7285
www.teleosis.org

The Teleosis Institute is an educational non-profit organization that promotes sustainable medical practices that are good for people and the environment.

Teleosis is derived from the Greek and can be translated as "greater self-realization."
The Institute provides educational programs, tools and resources to support health practitioners as they integrate environmentally sound strategies into their practice and create a new model of care called Green Health Care.

The Teleosis vision of Green Health Care takes us beyond the Hippocratic oath of 'do no harm', calling upon health professionals to "do more good." We believe that health professionals--by focusing more on prevention, precaution, education, and wellness--can significantly contribute to improving the health of their patients, community, and the environment.

In Green Health Care, toxic-free buildings, literacy around local environmental health issues, and the use of safe, effective, precaution-based medicine are all intrinsic parts of a new system of health care that is good for people and the environment.

Teleosis serves health care professionals through the following interlinked areas:

  • The Green Health Care Program, which coaches health professionals to Green the Workplace, Become Environmental Health Advocates, and Provide Sustainable Medical Care;
  • Educational resources, which include Symbiosis: the Journal of Ecologically Sustainable Medicine, environmental health brochures, classes, lectures, discussion groups, and online resources; and
  • The Green Health Care Network, a grassroots network of visionary health care professionals who are leading the Green Health Care movement.

Teleosis and the Green Business Program
Teleosis has partnered with the Bay Area Green Business Program to assist their Green Health Care Program participants in greening their workplaces and receiving Green Business Certification. More than 30 health care professionals from throughout the Bay Area, including medical doctors, nurses, chiropractors and a diverse range of health practitioners, have joined the first round of the Green Health Care Program. This group of professionals is working to green their businesses, teach their patients and respective communities about the importance of environmental health, and practice medicine that is more sustainable. Teleosis is proud to be a partner of the Bay Area Green Business Program, and is a certified Green Business.:

On December 1st, over 70 people gathered at the McKinnon Institute in Oakland to celebrate the Teleosis Institute's First Bay Area Green Health Care Awards.

At this zero-waste event, over 21 health care providers, including physicians, dentists, nurses, naturopaths, therapists, and health care clinics were honored for their participation and commitment to the Green Health Care Program - a model that protects human and environmental health. The event was hosted by Dr. Joel Kreisberg, Executive Director of Teleosis, and guest speakers included Terry O'Keefe from the Sustainable Business Alliance, and Ina Pockrass, Co-Founder of Transcendentist. The success of this event suggests the increasing demand for Green Health Care, and the interest in a health care model that is good for people and the environment.

 

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Transcendentist

3030 Ashby Ave., Suite 101
Berkeley, CA  94705
510-841-3040
www.transcendentist.com

Transcendentist is the first dental office to be certified  (in 2002) as a green business.  They were chosen for the launch of our feature page because of their model example of what a green business is.  Dr. Fred Pockgrass, and his wife, Ina’s business model was founded on the rewards of being green.  As they tell it, “Every aspect of our space has been designed to maximize our clients’ comfort, and to reflect our commitment to environmentally sound business practices. Ours is the first eco-friendly dental office in North America, which means that sustainability permeates every aspect of our practice from biocompatible dental materials to walls finished with paint that contains none of the nasty volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

We are also members of the East Bay’s Sustainable Business Alliance ( www.sustainablebiz.org ), and have taken the bold step of powering our office with wind power ( www.3phases.com ). We hope to serve as a model for other health practitioners.

Here is a sampling of what eco-dentistry™ means and what we do to lighten our footprint on the Earth:

  • Our wallpapers are made of reclaimed paper pulp and bark
  • Our floors were refinished with water-based polyurethane, our carpets are made of untreated wool, and our flooring is Marmoleum, a natural alternative to vinyl which is made of flax, wood flour and rosins
  • Much of our furniture is made of recycled woods, is covered in cottons, silks and wool and stuffed with kapok, which comes from a silk-cotton tree
  • We use only steam-based instrument sterilization, which contains no harmful chemicals
  • We installed a special filtration system to allow environmentally sound disposal of old mercury fillings, to prevent pollution of our water system
  • All of the paper in the office is recycled, and we use only digital patient charting to reduce paper use
  • We use digital imaging (not traditional x-rays), which means 75 to 90% less radiation for our clients and no toxic x-ray development chemicals
  • Instead of paper head rest covers and patient “bibs”, ours are made of pure cotton terry cloth, washed on-site in an energy efficient washer and dryer using natural detergents and disinfectants
  • Our office is lovingly cleaned with only environmentally safe cleaning methods by Tibby Janitorial.

 

Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, LLP

1111 Broadway, 24th Floor,
Oakland, CA
www.wendel.com/sustainable

The Oakland law firm Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean LLP was established in 1909 and now employs more than 50 attorneys. The firm has established an internal, cross-disciplinary team to identify and implement 'green' initiatives. In 2003, they became the first law firm in the country to be third-party certified as a Bay Area Green Business. In addition, the firm provides legal services to other "green" oriented businesses, including those in green building, organics, natural products, renewable
energy and more. The firm works extensively with their building owners to implement energy and water conservation measures. By switching to 100%post-consumer-waste, recycled-content chlorine-free papers for most uses, they have realized an estimated annual savings of 250 trees,24,000 gallons of water, 31,450 Kw of electricity and 40,000 lbs of greenhouse gases. Wendel Rosen uses sustainably-grown woods in office furnishings.

The firm’s partners are:  Howard W. Lind, Managing Partner; Regina Maciula, Executive DirectorGreen Business Practice Attorneys: Bruce Lymburn; Richard Lyons; Jonathan Redding; Donald Simon.