As part of its annual Recycling Awareness Week activities, Montgomery County on Wednesday honored a number of area residents and businesses for pushing more recycling in their communities and organizations.
The Park Avenue Condominium Association in Chevy Chase recycled more than 70 percent of its waste stream in 2012. The Grosvenor Park II Condominium near Strathmore, Highland House Apartments and Highland House West Apartments in Chevy Chase, The Riviera of Chevy Chase, The Sterling Home Owner’s Association in North Bethesda, The Whitney at Bethesda Theatre and The Wisconsin Condominium in North Bethesda all received recognition for outstanding efforts in recycling.
The Whitney increased its recycling percentage from 35 percent in 2011 to 56 percent last year by recycling rechargeable batteries and carpeting and donating books and clothing.
Austin Creel, from Maplewood Park Place in Bethesda, was recognized individually for efforts to get others in the community to recycle.
Crawford Tire (7015 Arlington Rd.), The German School Washington DC (8617 Cheateau Dr., Potomac), Lockheed Martin Center for Leadership Excellence (6777 Rockledge Dr.) and Ridgewells Catering (5525 Dorsey Lane) all received the Excellence in Recycling award for business, meaning the companies recycled at least 70 percent of their waste stream last year.
Crawford Tire included mandatory and voluntary recycling of batteries, antifreeze and motor oil in its program to recycle 84 percent of its waste stream. Lockheed Martin included food waste composting and pallet recycling to hit 96 percent, the county said.
Bethesda Green, Brookfield Office Properties, the Landow Building Limited Partnership, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish and School, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart and Potomac Place Shopping Center all received recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Recycling.
Montgomery County has the highest recycling rate in Maryland, at 57 percent, according to 2011 numbers from the state.
Flickr photo by Carla Bob Nora Russell
Bethesda Green, the environmental sustainability nonprofit and business incubator, will hold its first Investor Pitch Training Program in June and choose about six entrepreneurs to pitch investors on their businesses.
The program, funded by the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development and the U.S. Small Business Administration, is open to tech and non-tech early stage green businesses in the D.C. area.
Bethesda Green’s business incubator has produced notable green businesses such as Rockville-native Zack Kline’s green landscaping company. Last year, Kline and other incubator businesses made their pitches as part of the Startup Maryland competition.
Applications for the new program are due May 17. Robert Snyder, Bethesda Green’s incubator manager, said its the culmination of the group’s six-month finance workshop series.
Entrepreneurs who apply should have sustainable products or services and a plan to grow. Those who have the most feasible ideas and best business models will be selected to pitch to a panel of four active investors for feedback.
For more information, visit the program website.
The building features a green roof with several layers of plantings to absorb stormwater runoff, a rain screen facade, natural lighting angles that allow less use of electrical lighting, occupancy sensors and dual flush toilets.
The school (8617 Cheateau Dr.) has been around for 50 years and teaches students from preschool through high school.
The U.S. Green Building Council has been designating LEED buildings since 1993 in an effort to promote more sustainable and environmentally friendly construction. The school will celebrate the designation with a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on May 8.
The project was designed by Alexandria-based Geier Brown Renfrow Architects.
Photo via German School Washington
Two weeks ago, Zack Kline quit his full-time job at a Rockville payroll company to take the plunge into business for himself, an eco-friendly landscaping company he hopes to one day grow into a national franchising model.
For now, Kline, 24, rides from house to house, taking soil samples of prospective clients, answering emails and trying to put his A.I.R. Lawn Care company on the map. It’s an ambitious if risky idea, inspired by hot, humid summers toting around gas-powered lawn equipment and $5,000 in start-up money from a college business competition.
“There’s a lot of excitement for it and yeah, it’s a little nerve-wracking because you don’t have that consistent cash flow,” Kline said. “You have to figure out how you can be as resourceful as possible.”
Kline is one of many young Bethesda entrepreneurs trying to make it on their own in a time when the unemployment rate among 20- to 24-year olds is nearly double the national average, more and more young adults age 20-34 are living in their parents’ homes and some college graduates can’t find jobs.
A pair of Walt Whitman High School grads recently started a website that refers drivers to car repair shops. Two North Bethesda residents started a late night shuttle service between bars in Bethesda and D.C. last year and recently expanded it to Washington Nationals games for summer weekends.
“Unfortunately, a majority of people in our generation get labeled as lazy, not really driven and a lot of other negative connotations,” Kline said. “It gets older people, I think, kind of excited to see someone that maybe reminds them of themselves when they were younger, but also just to see that there is potential and hope for the up-and-coming generation.”
The Council’s Transportation & Environment Committee, chaired by Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac), will discuss whether Montgomery should consider changes to the bag tax that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
In 2012, the county collected $2.3 million from the bag tax with more than 57.6 million bags taxed the 5-cent fee. By December 2012, 1,011 retailers had registered to collect the tax. Retailers keep one cent of the tax for administrative expenses.
The tax’s intended purpose was to cut down plastic bag pollution by encouraging shoppers to use re-useable bags at supermarkets and stores. The tax also includes paper bags. The revenues go to the county’s Water Quality Protection Charge fund.
Just the $2.1 million revenue from the tax through Dec. 1, 2012 was double what the county projected. Environmentalists said anecdotal evidence pointed to reduced plastic bag pollution in watersheds.
It appears the tax did not slow the rate with which shoppers used plastic bags throughout the year. In the first seven months of 2012, between January and the end of July, customers paid $1.25 million in taxes for 31.3 million bags. The final totals are almost double that.
Starting at 2 p.m., the Committee will discuss the possible exclusion of the tax at clothing stores and other non-grocery stores, a change Berliner first brought up last fall.
The bigger change would be a plastic bag ban, potentially mimicking legislation in San Francisco and keeping in step with a number of similar proposed measures around the country.
Flickr photo by Mr. T in DC
The Green Organization Supplement, proposed by Bethesda Councilman Roger Berliner (D), could mean as much as $25,000 for green businesses annually. The bill comes out of the county’s Green Economy Task Force, which recommended more incentives for companies in the green sector.
At issue in the Monday afternoon committee hearing on the measure will be what exactly makes a business “green.” The Department of Economic Development has suggested that a green product or service be defined as “a product or service that measures, prevents, limits, minimizes or corrects environmental damage to water, air and soil, as well as problems related to waste, ecosystems, biodiversity, habitat or natural resource depletion.”
A similar county-funded incentive package for biotechnology companies provided $500,000 in supplement funds in 2012, according to the Department of Economic Development. There were 66 awards, ranging from $2,000 to $42,000. The average award was around $7,500.
Bethesda Green executive director David Feldman was a member of the county task force, which came out with its recommendations in 2010. The nonprofit based in Woodmont Triangle has a green business incubator, which works closely with the county’s Economic Development people.
The task force also recommended using Bethesda Green and its incubator program as a model for “Green Business Zones” in other areas.
The committee discussion of the bill is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be shown live on County Cable Montgomery.
The Fields of Green Internship Fair is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the organization’s office at 4825 Cordell Ave. (above the Capital One Bank).
Some of the area’s leading environmental groups and green businesses will interview candidates on-the-spot and Bethesda Green is looking for more employers.
Positions offered so far include jobs at the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Department of Environmental Protection and Student Conservation Association. For more information on the event and participating organizations, visit Bethesda Green’s website.
Montgomery County hopes a new Ride On bus ad campaign will encourage businesses to join its Green Business Certification Program.
The county’s Department of Environmental Protection, Montgomery College and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce showed off the new ad last night in North Bethesda before the Chamber’s annual awards dinner.
It reads, “Mommy and Daddy: Where do you work? Get certified. Their future depends on it.” It also includes the 43 certified members.
The program certifies businesses that attempt to reduce energy and waste, prevent pollution, manage runoff and water use and use efficient travel and transportation methods. The program recently partnered with the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business’ Center for Social Value Creation, which will match up the businesses with graduate students who will devise further “green” opportunities.
Nonprofit business incubator Bethesda Green, investment company Calvert Investments, the Bethesda location of tax firm Cohn Reznick, synagogue Beth El and Congressional Bank on Rock Spring Drive are the five Bethesda organizations in the program now.