Support for ‘greening your business’ available across Colorado
The Colorado Green Business Program provides an umbrella resource for sustainability coaching, technical assistance and grants
Servicing private jets doesn’t spring to mind as a shining example of sustainably minded operations, but the maintenance teams at West Star Aviation, headquartered in Grand Junction, have implemented process changes for years to green their business.
“It’s a very dirty industry that involves a lot of chemicals at a service center for private jets,” says Kraig Meyer, West Star Aviation director of environmental health and safety. “It does take an effort to manage sustainably. Absolutely, it’s worthwhile.”
Meyer, a Marine Corps veteran, said West Star has systematically implemented improvements that are better for the environment and safety of employees. The company has simplified, combined or eliminated processes to reduce their hazardous chemicals from 41 to 17 waste streams, Meyer says. Used aircraft fuel previously sent out as waste now is repurposed and re-certified for aviation use or fuel blending. Some seven tons of all-rubber aviation tires are now redirected annually from the company’s Grand Junction location for recycling to become ground chips for playgrounds, and thousands of gallons of lacquer thinner is recycled in-house for reuse as aircraft component cleaning solvent.
For companies across the state, the Colorado Green Business Program, operated through the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, provides an umbrella resource for sustainability coaching, technical assistance and grants. This coalition of sustainable assistance operates jointly with the CDPHE Environmental Leadership Program. ELP provides benefits and incentives to members that voluntarily go beyond compliance with state and federal regulations and are committed to continual environmental improvement.
Nonprofits, municipalities and a few utilities operate more than a dozen localized green business programs across Colorado, ranging from Resource Wise in Summit County, to Certifiably Green in Denver, to Partners for a Clean Environment in Boulder County.
“Now more than ever, customers would like to support local, sustainable businesses including local employees and locally produced products to better their communities,” says Matt Hannon, Boulder County business sustainability adviser.
In summer 2019, the state launched a free online platform called Green Business Tracker that can be utilized by local programs. Derek Boer, Colorado Green Business Program coordinator, says interest in starting new local programs has grown in the past year. Individual business owners can get started by completing a 30-question Green Business Assessment on the website.
Business sustainability advisers provide evaluation services and follow-up assistance at no cost to businesses moving toward efficiency measures ranging from waste reduction to renewable energy installations to reducing hazardous materials.