As recently covered in the Seattle Times, Seattle Public Utilities is expanding the Get on the Map program for minorities who own small businesses.
Exequiel Soltero had two reasons for taking advantage of Seattle Public Utilities’ latest green initiative: the prospect of saving money and improving his Mexican restaurant’s recycling practices.
The Seattle utility has spent the last year working with ethnic minorities such as Soltero who own a small business to make changes, such as installing an energy-efficient dishwasher, faucet and toilet, to save energy and money.
Soltero says he has saved an additional $1,250 on his garbage bill by recycling and composting at Maya’s, his Rainier Valley restaurant. His 16 employees have been trained to separate waste according to material — paper, bottles and cans, glass and cardboard — instead of “dumping all the trash in the disposal or the garbage.”
Philip E. Paschke, a program manager at the utility, says the restaurant also was able to reduce its water use by nearly 152 gallons, or 16 percent. This resulted in more than $1,000 in yearly savings.
The utility offers rebates for a wide range of commercial-kitchen equipment, he says, and can offer low-flow aerators for free. “Always look for the WaterSense label or in the case of dishwashers, Energy Star, which will be both water and energy efficient,” advises Paschke.
Susan Sanchez, deputy director of the customer-service branch at SPU, oversees the program, which is designed to reach customers who haven’t taken advantage previous conservation programs. It has bilingual specialists who visit the businesses and train employees in their native language.
Once a business signs up with Get on the Map, they are recognized on the SPU website according to rank of number of environmental actions. The business is then promoted through local media and at community and business events.
SPU has spent $61,425 on the program in the past year and has budgeted another $54,095 for the current year.
It plans to expand into the University District and Rainier Valley after starting in Martin Luther King Way, Othello and Lake City.
“Get on the Map is about outreach to smaller businesses, so we are targeting core business districts throughout the city,” says Michael May, a public-relations specialist at SPU.
More information on the program can be found here: