Published October 19, 2010
Volume 18, Number 10

Green Drinks Sustainability Group Now Meets in Pleasanton    

It is becoming increasingly clear that being green is good for business. Call it “natural capitalism,” a phrase that animates the conversation of Steve Melgoza, owner of Livermore’s Goza Gear Screen Printing & Embroidery and organizer of Tri-Valley Green Drinks, an informal group of sustainability-minded folks who gather monthly to “network, socialize, find green resources, and learn about the green business movement in the Tri-Valley area.”
This emerging concern may be relatively new, but, as Melgoza points out, it has natural history on its side. “We have the whole model of what Nature has done,” he remarks. “Millions of years of 'R&D' have produced a system with zero waste that keeps humming along.” The more that businesses follow Nature’s lead, the more sustainable they will become, he posits. “Of course we need materials and structures to operate in, so we will never reach perfection, but if we mimic Nature, we will get as close as we can.”
Meeting on the second Tuesday of every month, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (except holidays), Tri-Valley Green Drinks recently switched venues, from Livermore to Pleasanton, upstairs at Redcoats British Pub & Restaurant, 336 St. Mary Street. The change has brought an increase in attendance, although in comparison to Green Drinks meetings in metropolitan areas like San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento, which can attract crowds of up to 100, “we are still a quaint, low-key gathering.”
Still, big ideas circulate as participants compare notes on the green measures they have adopted in their businesses. Melgoza recounts the story of one vice president of engineering in a major company who sold the sustainability approach to corporate management by emphasizing the return on investment for the facility. “He looked at the bottom line and saw that the company would save money by changing light fixtures, going to low-flow toilets, doing away with paper towels, etc. He doesn’t view himself as a tree-hugger. It is a smart business case.”
It is not necessary to adopt a comprehensive green strategy to improve a company's sustainability posture. Melgoza comments that “waste is one of the biggest things businesses can look at,” whether it is paper that can be recycled or manufacturing materials that can be put to another use. “There is waste in energy as well,” he continues. In his own facility Melgoza has installed motion sensors that turn off lights when there is no occupancy. He also now washes the screens used in printing in a dip tank, which consumes less water than rinsing them out in the sink.
Increasingly, consumers want to know what businesses are doing both at the factory and the community levels to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, he points out. “The more we talk about it, the more we educate society,” he maintains.
For more information, visit www.greendrinks.org/CA/Pleasanton.


Also in this issue ...