Green Business

I have been avoiding this topic like the plague ever since I had an amazing lunch with Kate, author of the Green Bride Guide. I felt I couldn’t talk about being green unless I was living in a yurt in Alaska, harvesting my own food, and chopping my own wood for a stove (you saw that couple in the New York Times home section about a year ago, right? After reading that, I was like ‘I totally suck. I’m killing the planet because I use heat.’)

But- f* it. I’m not perfect. My business isn’t 100% green. And it never will be. So I should be proud of the things I do because being a green home/business is important to me. I actually got into being more environmentally responsible through being an animal right activist. No, I don’t throw paint on people but I own that phrase because I believe there are sane people out there working to improve the conditions animals are in all around the world.

So it started with what I call “the bunny test”. Anything that comes in my house has to pass “the bunny test”- as in ‘did this product or company that made said product put this in a bunny’s eyeball or other body part?’. With three house rabbits, I couldn’t look *them* in the eyeball and be ok with buying a shampoo if it was tested on a fellow bunny– even if that means I have to cough up more money and not buy the Pantene Pro-V shampoo and go with the Nexxus shampoo. I try not to even buy products that aren’t tested on animals but are run by a company that still does so. So I spend more money on shampoo- fine. I don’t get new shoes. It’s a balance.

So everything that comes into my house, makeup, cleaning supplies, food, etc all has to pass “the bunny test”. And I realized in doing this, I was buying cruelty free products but also organic/green products as well. I use method soap and just buy the big bag at Target to refill the dispensers when they get low. Less packaging, less waste, green cleaning product.

Toby and Fern (2 of my 3 bunnies), hard at work yesterday, ensuring the bunny test is being taken seriously.

So my business is run out of my home, so my desk is cleaned using green products. I recycle like a mofo. All my lights are compact florescent. The cards I give my clients for their guests to access their wedding gallery are all printed are recycled paper. But I’m still a total paper whore and love to send my clients handwritten notes. I don’t have solar panels on my home. I use the computer all day editing images which sucks up energy. I buy a lot of cutting edge technology for storing and backing up images, which means electronics tend to be useless in a year or two.

I’m always looking to move forward towards even greener business practices. Sometimes it’s 2 steps forward, one step back. Like composting. I tried it and was soooo excited. I read a few books on it. And my compost pile became a giant, stinky, bug infested mess that never turned to compost. Boo. But I want my clients, friends, fellow photographers to know how important being green is to me. It’s something I have been doing well before the beginning of my business and continues.


[…] But I have been hitting a frustrating wall- nail polish I kept coming across didn’t meet the bunny test. I just couldn’t find cruelty-free and eco-friendly nail polish. And when I did? Ohhhh, it […]

Hey Kelly,

Isn’t Kate great?!!

Re paper: don’t feel so guilty -especially if you use 100% PCW paper and treefree paper like cotton or hemp. (BTY – there was a fabulous hemp paper about 12 yrs ago that made photos look amazing! B+W looked like photogravure…)
There are only 2 or 3 mills making 100% PCW paper in the US. Most of the recycled paper that is picked up curbside gets shipped to Asia. Like, 95% or more.
So – it’s really important to create product streams that support using recycled fiber.
If we greenies don’t create the markets, then they will all go bankrupt. (Which happened all through the 1990’s). Which would leave no choice, and just the virgin/rainforest papermakers controlling the entire market. Almost happened a few years ago. The mill that makes the 100% PCW paper we use all the time, went into bankruptcy. Luckily, it was bought by Neenah paper.
Best to you 🙂

Helen – (eco papers + printing since 1995)