“Greenwashing” is a phenomenon in which a product or business is advertised as being better for the environment than it really is. As a result, it can be confusing when trying to choose the best item to purchase or business to support. Many people want to support a business that is doing something good for the world, but these businesses can be difficult to identify. Many businesses would consider more sustainable products and practices if they were provided with direction and shown that “going green” is a good financial decision.
A green economy fosters businesses that help protect, restore and enhance our natural environment. By supporting green businesses, Clearwater’s economy can thrive and prosper while achieving community goals of generating less waste and pollution, saving energy, restoring green spaces, growing food locally and conserving water. Green businesses could include companies that develop renewable energy or alternative fuels, grow organic produce locally, make products from recycled materials, implement resource conservation practices, or choose to avoid single-use plastics. Traditional companies that modify their practices to be more resource efficient, such as builders who learn to use energy-efficient, environmentally sustainable materials and construction practices, could also meet the definition of green business.
- In 2018, City Council unanimously passed resolution 18-08 to encourage Clearwater businesses to adopt ocean-friendly practices. These practices include not using plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic utensils, Styrofoam and balloons. Ocean-friendly businesses choose reusable, paper-based biodegradable, compostable or recyclable materials instead and maintain a clean recycling program.
- Clearwater-based non-profit, Ocean Allies, is working to make Clearwater Beach “the No. 1 ocean-friendly beach in the world.” In 2019, 17 Clearwater businesses were certified as ocean friendly. Ocean Allies also partnered with the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce to hold the city’s first-ever zero-waste event: the 2019 Taste Fest diverted 96 percent of its waste away from the landfill by providing options such as reusable ware, recyclable items and composting services.