News and Best Practices

Benefit As a Certifiably ‘Green’ Business

February 22, 2017

We all know recycling makes for an eco-friendly business. But what about a no idling policy in the parking lot to reduce emissions? Or recording how much waste your company creates in a week?

Revamping policies and investing in energy-saving equipment can help your business go green. Depending on where you’re located, it may also earn recognition from local agencies.

Just ask Amy Andrle, co-owner of L’Eagle Services. Last September, the Denver dispensary received the Certifiably Green Denver distinction. It was the first cannabis store to receive the distinction, she said. “I think that from our standpoint it’s advantageous to have this certification because it certainly helps substantiate the claims that we make about how we run our business.”

Practices, not products

The City and County of Denver’s Department of Environmental Health runs the certification program, which is designed to help businesses “find opportunities to improve efficiency and profitability while minimizing environmental liability through pollution prevention,” the agency’s website reported.

Andrle stressed that the Certifiably Green Denver designation doesn’t certify the dispensary’s products. Rather, it certifies its business practices and business management.

Certifiably Green Denver evaluates businesses in five main areas:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Water conservation
  • Resource management
  • Alternative transportation
  • Business management

A look at that list shows reveals L’Eagle has its bases well-covered.

  • Resource management? Check. Customers can bring empty packaging to the dispensary for recycling, and the company offers discounts to customers who bring back their childproof bags and containers. L’Eagle also works with packaging companies using recyclable plastics that are, in turn, made from recycled materials, Andrle said.
  • Water conservation? Check. Filters on the faucets aerate the water and cut down on water consumption, she said.
  • Energy efficiency? Check. The company also installed LED lighting throughout both the dispensary and its cultivation facility. “Changing out a couple of ballasts—I think it was well worth the bragging rights of saying that we were doing right by the Certifiably Green program,” she said. “It was a minimum investment, I think, for the reward.”
  • Alternative transportation and business management? Check. “We encourage people to walk or ride their bikes” to the dispensary, she said. “We have bike racks. We have a sitting area outside.”

Signs gently remind guests that the business has a no-idling policy in the parking lot. However, for customers who brought their pets along for the ride, a dog parking area allows them to secure their animals in a safe, shaded area equipped with fresh water, she said.

Still, the work isn’t finished at L’Eagle. “Every year we’ll have to look at adding a handful of new systems, new practices to maintain that certification,” Andrle said.

The dispensary had to quantify its weekly waste production as part of the application process. “We hope to minimize that amount year-over-year by introducing new policies or systems we use in-house,” she said.

Eco-friendly tips

Andrle offered several suggestions for other dispensaries looking to become more environmentally conscious.

  • Reach out to local and state agencies for help. “I certainly think that there are resources available at almost every local jurisdiction or state where cannabis is legal, whether it be medically or recreationally,” she said.
  • Start with the five areas the Certifiably Green Denver program uses. Evaluate your business for its energy efficiency, water conservation, resource management and business management, as well as its support of alternative transportation.
  • Be aware of your waste output, and consciously work to offset the impact of the industry’s packaging-heavy nature.
  • Evaluate your business. What practices fit your clients and your niche?

It may seem like a lot. But Andrle said she believed companies who resolved to go green would find the effort “well worth the investment.”

By Bridget Manley
Top: Photo of L’Eagle co-owner Amy Andrle, courtesy of Shawna Seldon McGregor
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2017 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
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