Gilbert launches environmental sustainability program for businesses

The town of Gilbert announced the creation of a new environmental sustainability partnership program called the Green Gilbert Business Partnership Program, which launched July 24.

The program is a collaboration between the town and local businesses to provide incentives for these companies that help protect the long-term sustainability of Gilbert.

Kellie Elliot, an environmental compliance instructor for the town, said the program was developed to help businesses understand the sustainability resources available and to provide incentives to use them. She said there are also minor problems with pollution prevention, mainly due to restaurants not understanding the effects of some of their actions.

“It’s not a matter of they don’t want to do the right thing,” Elliot said. “But they don’t know what the right thing is.”

Businesses can join the program by meeting the requirements set by the partnership, focusing on pollution prevention, water conservation and waste reduction. In addition to meeting the requirements, businesses must adhere to an additional 10 "green actions” that they determine with approval from the program, such as having a lights-off policy or turning up the air conditioner while the business is closed, Elliot said.

Despite the seemingly long list of requirements to join the program, Elliot said it should be simple for businesses to start following them.

“Some things may sound hard, but once they’re there in practice, they become practical,” she said.

Elliot also said many of the requirements for the program are already standards within the town. The major incentive of this program, she said, is simply being compliant with these standards so businesses are not harassed for not following them.

Other incentives include advanced notices of inspections, special recognition from the town and being put in an online portal to allow residents to know which businesses are the most sustainable.

Elliot said the program will provide businesses with the resources necessary to comply with the requirements, alleviating any financial burden they may incur from attempting to join.

“Most of the suggestions are actually cost saving,” Elliot said.

Although the program has just launched, Elliot said there has been positive feedback from local businesses.

She said that there is room for adjustment to the program if need be.