Local Greenhouse Recycles – Holland

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Where should we buy our plants for the yard this year? Here is a suggestion that is not only local but they also a place to recycle all our plant pots and trays locally. Jacks Greenhouse https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacks-Greenhouses/110349882338989  located at 11771 E Lakewood Blvd, Holland, Michigan is a great local mom and pop greenhouse business. This is a fairly large greenhouse (even though it doesn’t look like it from the road). This Greenhouse not only sells plants but also collects all plastic pots (not just the ones they sell) and trays from plants. They bring the pots and trays to East Jordon plastics in South Haven http://www.eastjordanplastics.com/recycling-program to be recycled back into new plant pots and trays.  Jacks does a great job advertising this with a bin located outside their greenhouse  marked with a large recycle sign (as seen below). So as you think about where to buy your plants keep Jacks in mind.

When you buy from Jacks Greenhouse you:

  1. Support Local Greenhouse /Business
    • No shipping of plants is less local pollution
    • Your money stays in our local economy
  2. Recycle all plant pots and trays locally
    • Supporting local industry not landfills
    • Keeps raw materials locally cutting down on cost for East Jordon

All of this = Sustainability



By : Dan Broersma



Newspapers – The 3R’s Refuse, Reduce, and Read (online)

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reducereuserecycle-300x300How do you get your news? Are you still getting your news delivered to your doorstep everyday? What? A paper being delivered to your door?

I have posed questions before asking why people are still getting a newspaper delivered to their home everyday Here are some of the typical answer. Stop me if you have heard (or said) these things:

I love the tactile feeling of holding a newspaper.
But my routine is to read the news while having my coffee every morning.

It is so convenient to have the paper delivered right to my door.

I just don’t like reading it online.

What’s your reason for still getting the “paper” delivered?

Here are my suggestions for why I think we should consider changing our habits.

What is the process for getting a newspaper and getting rid of a newspaper?

Grow trees, Cut Trees, Ship trees, Process trees, Ship to paper manufacturer, Ship paper to Newspaper printer, Make ink (pant or oil based – If oil it adds a whole new layer), Ship ink to newspaper printer, Print newspaper (Large machines, Electricity, Packaging, Labor), Bundle and prepare for delivery, Put in plastic bag (“petroleum based?), Bundle for driver to pick up, Driver in a car/truck fills vehicle with fuel, Drives to home, Paper removed from plastic bag (recyclable bag?), Read newspaper, Recycle paper (Not everyone recycles), Recycle truck drives to home (Labor, Fuel, Emissions, Maintenance-repeat of previous process but with much larger vehicle), paper processed at sorting facility or land-filled.
What could we do differently?

Use a tablet, computer, phone, TV to download the news as it is published. No cars, no plastic bags, no trucks, fewer emissions, less electricity, breaking news as it happens, easy to share (email, Social Media) and save articles, look up maps, names, history and data directly from device.


Save Money. Have I mentioned that online subscriptions are also “way” cheaper?

How might we rethink our process for getting news?

The 3R’s Refuse Delivery, Reduce Waste, and Read (online)

Online Energy Tracking Tool For All Organizations

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We found an amazing and inexpensive tool for tracking and sharing all of your energy and waste information for your organization call Foresight http://www.foresightsustainability.com/ . The cost of this online tool is $250 a year which is a fraction of the cost of most other similar software systems. Below are all the metrics you track for your organization and you can track as many or as little as you wish. When tracking this information it helps create cost reductions, and a great sustainable story for your organization no matter if you’re a business, church , school, or a non-profit (for an example see this story of why you should track trash/solid waste here http://www.greenmichigan.org/recycle-repurpose/why-you-should-track-your-solid-waste/). Check out their website or contact Brian Pageau bpageau@midwestenergygroup.com

This is a Michigan based company.



Why you Should Track Your Trash/Solid Waste or Recycling

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Why you Should Track Your Trash/  Solid Waste

When moving towards a more sustainable industrial environment, as well as moving towards lower operating costs, implementing a proactive solid waste reduction program is imperative.
Often times, solid waste (trash and recycling) is overlooked as a manageable sustainability metric, because it is seen as inexpensive and irrelevant. You might be surprised to see how high your organization’s total costs were for disposal last year, have you checked lately? Minimally though, solid waste is far too often not viewed as a high priority.
Nevertheless, when organizations do choose to measure solid waste, many opportunities for reduction and cost savings become apparent.


When you track the amount of waste leaving your facility you get an idea of whether the current waste containers is sized appropriately. Your existing bins may be too big, causing you to pay for equipment and pickups that are not needed.

An increase in solid waste might be an indicator of a quality issue. If your scrap rates go up and you aren’t measuring solid waste, it may be a long time before you see an issue. Or you may not catch it at all!

When waste is monitored consistently, organizations will have increased visibility into what is being disposed. This knowledge can open opportunities for better or new recycling opportunities. re-used.

Why Local Honey?

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Why Local Honey?

Raw honey is totally different than the honey you may find on the supermarket shelf.  Raw honey has not been pasteurized, heated, or processed.  Local raw honey contains pollen from sources in your neighborhood that may naturally provide your body resistance to seasonal allergies.  Raw honey also contains many minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and powerful antioxidants — plus amazing anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.


For More Bee Keeping, Bee’s, and Local Honey information Check out the Holland Beekeeper association 



TEDX Macatawa Event Sets A Great Sustainable Example

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This year’s TEDxMacatawa http://www.tedxmacatawa.org/ put forward a sustainability message that went beyond reducing, reusing and recycling. It focused on value-added collaborations. Four collaborative initiatives were added to a single day that will have a lasting impact far into the future.

  1. A local company provided Renewable Energy Credits, representing an indirect emission reduction for the energy used for TEDxMacatawa and for offsetting an entire month’s use of electricity for the Knickerbocker Theatre.
  2. The recycling and composting bins used for the day were donated by Recycle Box Bin http://www.recycleboxbin.com/ . These boxes are made in West Michigan and now are being used for other local events.
  3. One dollar from every ticket sold ($382 for 382 trees) was donated to The Land Conservancy of West Michigan to purchase locally cultivated trees through the Ottawa Conservation District for reforesting a Nature Preserve in West Michigan. The Land Conservancy will plant the trees and provide oversight and maintenance of those trees in perpetuity.
  4. Finally, coordination for the credits, recycle bins, trees and composting and the overall sustainability message have been in collaboration with a new West Michigan environmental resource center located at http://www.greenmichigan.org/work-with-us/.

Careful attention has been given to sustainability by the TEDxMacatawa planning team. It ranged from locally sourced food Hope College provided, the reduction of energy for putting on the event, the reduction of waste to the long-lasting value that TEDxMacatawa provided even beyond the day of the event.

TEDxMacatawa is proudly committed to stewardship of our natural and personal resources by embracing the Collaboration by Design message and purpose.


By the TEDxMacatawa planning team

Sustainable Local Jewelry


Looking for sustainable and local jewelry for my daughter  I found this very unique and inexpensive option. Here is Jarrod Story and website. http://www.brambleswoodwork.com/


Working with wood is akin to being an explorer. When you carve into wood you are seeing that grain for the first time; you are witnessing the growth and struggle that it has endured. It can be a form of time travel.  I love to work with the natural form of wood and to present its own beautiful representation of life and growth. I enjoy the experience of working with once living structures and redesigning the beautiful pattern that is already there.

I started working with wood as a child, whittling, cutting and designing it to appease my imagination. In 2004 I started making jewelry after a friend picked up a scrap in my workshop and said that it would make a cool earring. I thought, “Why not?!” Since that day I have found earrings to be my mainstay and have truly loved designing new pairs daily. I often make only a few of a certain design and move on. I don’t want to get bored nor do I want it to feel like work! I see earrings as mini pieces of wearable art and love that no two pairs will ever be exactly the same. I also make pendants, bracelets, wood bow-ties, tie clips, rings and belt buckles. As with the earrings, most of these things are made when an idea crosses my mind and I want to give something new a shot. I’ve been working from my home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with found materials since 2002. This has turned into making hundreds of pieces with no two exactly alike.

My eye searches for materials during my travels. From Yellowstone, to the Bahamas, to my own backyard, the materials speak to me and I try to use them in a way that brings out the beauty that was hidden away. I love the thought of using items that have passed on to give them a second life.  Expressing myself artistically in this way fulfills me in that this is not a job, but my passion.

A Local More Sustainable School/Fundraising Company

Check Out Great Lakes Promotions for a more sustainable/local option.

Great Lakes Promotions – A family run fundraising business since 1988, focusing on sustainability. Products are sought from Michigan and the Great Lakes States to reduce our carbon footprint. Great Lakes items include gift wrap with non-GMO seeds impregnated for planting after you use the wrap; handmade wooden earrings, beverage totes, oven pulls and cutting boards; honey mustard from Sleeping Bear Farms; hand poured bees wax candles; Michigan and Great Lakes themed coloring books; chocolates, meats, cheeses, snacks and popcorn; Yooper fire starters; puzzles and magnets; and more! We started our business in our home with our five children helping. Now, our grandchildren are poised to help!

Rich Napierkowski
Great Lakes Promotions
Amazing Michigan
1-888-874-5850 (Office toll free)
1-616-450-9706 (Cell)
1-616-987-4444 (Off)1-616-987-4400 (FAX)



Habitat for Humanity ReStore is the Greenest Hardware Store

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Home improvement can be confusing, especially if you’re trying to do it the greenest way possible. I’m your average Joe. I love hardware stores, tools and the smell of cut wood — “arrr, arrr” (Tim Taylor voice. OK so I dated myself:-)). There are tons big-box stores out there. But recently, I found a store that has most of what I need that’s not only cheaper but very green, too. Welcome to the Habitat ReStore. I’ve been involved in many Habitat home builds in the past and I’d heard of the Habitat ReStore but I’d never been in one before. Then on a recent project I went to the store near my home, and wow what a store!



There’s almost anything for any project out there. As I walked around I found cabinets, molding, paint (even a great recycled paint), doors, windows, a water heater and even a couple of fireplace units. They have almost everything you need for almost any project — even tile and grout. I must admit, I was skeptical when I was first told about the store and the quality of its merchandise. But after a bunch of projects, I am now a believer. The main reason I’m so convinced is because this store basically sells recycled merchandise a lot of the material is in like-new condition. I went in the other day thinking they wouldn’t have any paint brushes but, low and behold, they had a brand new one and it was of a very high quality brush. Their used materials are of surprisingly of good quality, too. It’s simply amazing to see the variety of supplies this store stocks.

Habitat gets the surplus materials donated from builders, retail stores and average Joes and Jane’s like you and me. Just think of all the projects where you’ve had leftover flooring, or a can of paint you meant to use but decided you didn’t like the color anymore … The Habitat ReStore greatly benefits from these donations and is able to resell them for around 50 percent below retail price. Donors and buyers alike, can feel good about helping a great organization like Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Think about this: you have a project and need materials; I just finished a project and have unused materials; we both visit the Habitat ReStore and we both help out a great cause in a very green way. I don’t see any down side!

So the next time you’re putting up a mantle in your living room or working on any other sort of project, check out the Habitat ReStore. They have knowledgeable people/volunteers, and most have years’ experience in home building and construction materials. Check out the wall below they built with recycled skids in their store.


I am redoing a bathroom in my basement with nothing but restore and donated materials. I plan to blog more about this project this winter. Stay tuned!

Check out were to find a store near you on the links below.





By : Dan Broersma


The Most Sustainable Coffee Shop


front lemonjellos (1)

Check them out at http://lemonjellos.com

We all work in different places. The places we work– no matter if it is a small or large business –are always watching the bottom line. It occurred to me this morning  while  enjoying a cup of coffee this morning before heading into the office I am sitting in one of the most sustainable (financial, social, and ecological) business models today.

LemonJellos is a small coffee shop in downtown Holland, but it could be any coffee shop USA. The store is located in an old Sinclair gas station. Being recycled from an old gas station fits right into their business model and the vision of Matthew Scott (the owner). He decided a long time ago that he wanted to produce a great quality product at a great price. He took the stance that he and his business would always do the right thing.

What he wanted was a sustainable shop with little waste, so he diligently researched different ways to handle the waste from his shop. He started with the typical waste haulers, but they were expensive and did not offer other services such as composting.  Then he implemented a multi-prong approach to his businesses waste.

Bottom line:

If this shop was charged $200 a month to empty a two yard dumpster. This coffee shop does not pay this for waste management.  With this savings that would be an annual savings of $2400 not including the energy savings.  This is a lot of extra coffee you can buy and sell. LemonJellos takes that money turns it into marketing or even into buying more coffee they increase their bottom line. My point is if you do the right things as individuals and businesses you will help not only the planet but our pocket books as well. As you read this blog, think about this way of thinking and how you can impact your place of employment.

Recycling with a homeless shelter:  Mathew Scott Chose  a unique way to recycle. In the town of Holland there is a recycling center that is run and operated by a homeless shelter. Partnering with the New Life Recycling center ( http://www.hollandrescue.org/recycling/recycling ) offered Matt not only the means to recycle everything that  a large recycling center offered, but it also offered him a way to help the community..

Composting with a non-profit farm:

A coffee shop produces a major amount of compostable waste. LemonJellos is no different; in fact it produces more than the average because of its internal bakery. That’s right; they produce their own baked good including gluten free baked goods. All the shop’s waste goes to a not for profit CSA farm called Eight Day Farm ( http://www.eighthdayfarm.com/ ). All that coffee and bakery waste is taken for free and used in the compost process to fertilize the farm.  The idea of using a local farm to compost waste is ingenuous. FYI ,this is a farm that also turned a parking lot into a farm at an old shopping center but that is for another blog.

Using reusable /bio based materials:

Within the coffee shop you use re-usable cups, plates, and silverware. Mathew made the decision that Lemonjello’s would utilize reusable cups, plates, and silverware Almost everything else is compostable. Even the container my granola came in was a bio-plastic compostable container. When using the rest rooms even the waste bins say where to place the paper wash towels because they will be composted.  The towels are compost through a different process other than the farm but are still composted.

waste tub (1)
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Managing the waste as a marketing tool:

There are no waste bins anywhere within the coffee shop. All the dishes and waste go into the same container and are sorted by the employees. Near these containers there are signs stating “this is a zero waste shop” or “recycle or else” (I love this sign). Because the employees sort the material, there is very little contamination in the compost or recycling material.
Energy use:

Compact florescent and LED bulbs are used throughout the shop. One very cool energy saving device is a timer light switch in the restroom. This gives you plenty of time to do your business and then shuts the lights out after you leave.


This shop is not perfect; they their have issues as well. They have these waxy milk-like cartons that they cannot be composted or recycled, so they are forced to throw these things away. The difference is they are constantly trying to find a new carton to receive this material and are pushing on their suppliers to help reduce this waste. Along with pushing the suppliers, they are constantly looking for new ways to recycle responsibly.

Lemonjellos cares about their customers, the planet, and their community and they show it through actions not just words. Maybe we can influence our places of work to think more this way.

Matt’s way of thinking is (this is also my guiding principle) : Do the right thing always and the rest will always take care of itself!