Green energy. Green initiatives. Green companies.

Green this. Green that. Green me with an eco-friendly whiffle ball bat.

That’s right. Everyone – and everything – is going green. In fact, chances are YOU have already “gone green” (go ahead, look in the mirror…if you dare). Or if you haven’t, your neighbor has (and is probably chastising you for lagging behind the times). But what does it all mean, really? Would you necessarily even know it if you’ve already gone green? And once you go green, can you ever go back?

Simply put, it means living a more environmentally friendly and conscious lifestyle. By choosing to do things – both big and little – a little bit differently than the ways most of us have done them in the past. You know, like recycling bottles and cans. Printing out fewer emails. Purchasing more fuel-efficient automobiles. Biking and walking to local spots. These are all ways we can work to reduce our individual “carbon footprint” on the planet. At a time when it needs all the help it can get.  

Individuals like you aren’t the only ones taking further steps toward establishing and maintaining a more eco-friendly world, however. Businesses are also getting in on the action, perhaps motivated by consumers and their increasingly healthy and conscious choices. Companies both large and small alike are researching and implementing more environmentally sound practices, and often listening closely to consumer feedback and suggestions in doing so.

Examples range from Enterprise Rent-A-Car offering “carbon offsets” (allowing consumers to fund green energy projects to compensate for polluting behavior) to New Belgium Brewery manufacturing and bottling craft beer entirely via alternative energy sources to Clif Bar eliminating shrink-wrap packaging and shipping its organic energy bars via biodiesel-powered trucks. And more and more, such examples are becoming the norm.

You can get more insight into the “greening of mainstream business,” including news, podcasts, videos and job listings, by visiting <>  – the Business Voice of the Green Economy.

The professional dry cleaning industry has also seen a surge in eco-friendly practices and businesses. More progressive dry cleaners, such as Sudsies, employ an “environmental wet cleaning” process that utilizes specially treated and conditioned water, in addition to more traditional solvents. Other environmentally friendly dry cleaner practices include instituting systemic recycling programs, conserving more energy and water, investing in technology or services that exceed regulatory requirements and educating and training staff in environmental regulations and issues.

There’s even a Green Cleaners Council working to promote and reward genuine environmental sustainability efforts and expose “greenwashing.” The council has established a set of benchmarks to rate dry cleaners on their eco-friendly practices, and also provides them with a forum to share their successes and discuss strategies for future growth. The scores achieved on the “blind review” also help customers determine how green their cleaner really is.

You can see how your favorite dry cleaner rates on the Green Scale by visiting the Green Cleaners Council online at <>.