Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Greenopia's guide to eco-friendly services

Greenopia is a new style guide
for environmental and organic
services on where you can eat shop
and live green.

Gay Browne who created the book and list of services when she started building a green home in 1994 and found it difficult to find a list of green eco-friendly services on building materials that were eco-friendly.

Browne decided to hire a consultant to help her with locating theses business and later became more interested in finding other businesses that were available to others in foods, clothes and other businesses that were green. Ten years later she created the guide to help people make more eco-friendly choices in choosing that they do business with.

The first guide she created is for Los Angeles and then later created a guide for San Francisco and New York.

There are over 52 categories of businesses to pet stores, nail salons, restaurants even burial services.

It is an easy-to-understand consumer guide filled with local listings for green retailers, service providers and organizations.

Greenopia contains everything from organic restaurants, grocery stores, dry cleaners, organic pest control services, to sustainable building suppliers, landscapers, interior designers and anything a consumer needs for every day green living.

A Greenopia field assessor assesses the green criteria for the businesses and they research every business to make sure that they are environmentally friendly and up to standards depending on what category they are in.

For example if they are a retailer for produce, the field assessor will make sure that the produce is organic, where it is farmed and are chemically free.

Many times the researchers will depend on Zagats, known to do reviews on restaurants and depend on comments from the public in developing their decision on weather or not the business has a good sustainability practices before they are added into the listing.

Greenopia also has a leaf rating system on how green the company is by giving them one to five leafs.

For example, in reviewing the company Apple, the company for computer technology and software, Greenopia gave them one leaf. Greenopia also explains why and how Apple could improve by being more free of toxic chemicals such as LED lit monitors and RoHs compliant computers and has several products that are EPEAT Gold certified.

Apple also has a take-back program for its products, but in order not to be charged for it you must buy a new Apple product.

Greenopia’s review also said that Apple has come under fire from numerous environmental groups for its products’ toxicity and lack of environmental reporting. While it seems to have most of the toxicity concerns addressed, it still does not publish any sort of environmental report.

Even though Apple does not compare to companies like Dell and Sony who are much more forthcoming with their information and Sony even publishes some life cycles so users can see the magnitude of their environmental impact across all areas of the product. Apple also needs to adopt a better take-back program.

Forcing people to buy a new Apple product is ridiculous. Companies should be responsible for the end of life management of their product if it contains hazardous materials and is not easy to recycle.

The Greenopia verdict for Apple was not the most-eco-friendly business and only received one leaf. Sony received 2 leafs and Dell received 3 leafs being more environmentally friendly.

The rating system is not only for name brands but restaurants, beverages, Auto manufacturer, retailers and one to be especially helpful is fast food.

Between the three largest fast food chains among McDonalds, Burger King and and Taco Bell, Mc Donald’s received one leaf.

According to Greenopia the most environmentally green auto manufactures were between mini cooper, the smart car, Honda and Toyota. All of these manufacturers have taken great steps to improve the environmental impact of its packaging and designs in its vehicles from mileage to environmental indicators such as emissions, resource usage, waste and chemicals.

Greenopia is not a paid directory so companies cannot pay to be included. All of the listing must meet strict standards of eco-friendliness.

There are many other resources that Greenopia offers such has suggestion on books on how to green your home, green products, eco kitchen ware and many other suggestions on how to live green.

Everyone should have this guide at their fingertips in making greener choices and providing consumers with the means to make daily decisions that reduce their impact on the environment and ore sustainable life styles.

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