How can I find eco-friendly home and personal services?
-Nicole L., Orange, CA
Since the yellow pages are virtually extinct (and good riddance, all that wasted, unwanted paper!), the internet is definitely the first place to look. However, finding local green businesses online can be challenging because the search results are often scanty and fragmented. There doesn’t seem to be one truly comprehensive platform for finding and patronizing local eco-friendly services, but there are some specialized sites you can search. Here are a few by specialty:
General: Green America, a nonprofit that promotes sustainability through business, maintains the National Green Pages. The Green Pages list many kinds of green businesses, and they list a particularly large selection in the finance and investment section.
Home Construction: The U.S. Green Building Council, the organization that administers LEED certification, maintains Green Home Guide. It offers an array of resources to help you build a your green dream home, including an extensive directory of green home professionals. Contractors, plumbers, HVAC, and interior designers are just a few of the listing categories.
Home Cleaning: You might already know to look for Green Seal when you buy cleaning products at the store. But if you’d rather someone else do the dirty work, they also certify and list cleaning services.
Funeral/Burial Services: The Green Burial Council certifies burial grounds, funeral homes, and burial products according to tiers of sustainability. You can browse their approved list by state.
Even though these sites are narrowly focused, a more general site might still have more results if you filter or search for green options. Try keywords like “green”, “eco-friendly”, or “sustainable” in your searches on large national sites like Angie’s List and Yelp, and you might hit pay dirt.
If you can find them, local-specific sites can turn up the most relevant leads. Sometimes local governments, nonprofits, or business groups maintain online listings for sustainable services. For example, residents in the Willamette Valley area of Oregon can browse the Natural Choice Directory and find everything from architects to wedding planners who have a green expertise. Residents of the greater Cincinnati area can browse the member list of the Green Umbrella, a nonprofit regional sustainability alliance. Most of these kinds of organizations have valuable local expertise and might be able to point you in the right direction, even if you can’t find what you need on their website, so don’t hesitate to contact them.
Remember that it never hurts to simply ask a service provider about their eco-options. Businesses that don’t necessarily specialize in green service might still have options or alternatives available. Even if they don’t, you might convince them to add them just by asking for it, because you are letting them know that there is demand for it!