Biz Buzz: 6 firms honored for going green

Six local businesses were honored Monday by the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce with Green Awards for their environmental practices.

The winners were chosen from more than 50 nominees based on their efforts to reduce pollution, conserve resources and improve air and water quality.

As part of the awards ceremony, which was held at Embassy Suites, a top sustainability consultant offered tips and advice to local businesses about how to implement the best practices for sustainability.

The winners were:

Elemental Herbs. The body-care line based in Morro Bay uses organic ingredients and sustainable farming practices to create its products.

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. The hospital in San Luis Obispo has reduced water consumption and plastic waste. In 2009, the hospital launched “Going Green & Sierra Vista,” an ongoing effort to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Solarponics Energy Systems. Founded in 1975, Solarponics is the oldest continually operating solar company in California. The Atascadero company designs, installs and services solar systems.

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. The garden was recognized for its water conservation and recycling. The facility demonstrates conservation through sustainable gardening and architecture.

Avila Bay Athletic Club and Spa. The club uses biodegradable to-go containers and silverware, and is composting restaurant scraps and yard waste.

Tolosa Winery. It converted to solar electrical generation for its 75,000-square-foot winery and tasting room in the Edna Valley. Tolosa expects that the system will have paid for itself in six and a half years.

— Stacy Daniel

Pismo hotel joins recycling program

Pismo Lighthouse Suites has joined the Clean the World recycling program, which reduces waste and helps impoverished people worldwide by recycling soaps and shampoos.

Discarded amenities from the hotel’s 70 two-room, two-bath suites are shipped to the Clean the World headquarters in Florida for processing. The soaps are disinfected and sanitized and then shipped to distribution partners such as Floating Doctors, Cap Haitian Health Network in Haiti, homeless and women’s shelters and missions in the United States.

Clean the World estimates that the Pismo Lighthouse Suites will provide about 13,000 recycled bars of soap annually, while at the same time diverting more than 1 ton of landfill waste.

— Stacy Daniel