Green is the hot topic, but many companies are still hesitant to embrace it and sell it to their customers. Distributors and suppliers are not waiting. They're learning everything they can to understand the environmental standards that continue to evolve and change every day, so they'll be ready to step in when the small shop calls.

Trade Supply Group views it as an ongoing process of understanding the changes and standards that are emerging. "Some vendors have been introducing green products," says Kevin Brady, the group's president. "We are still struggling to really understand Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, LEED, and what we must do in collaboration with our vendors to be able to offer products that might not have been able to get LEED certification points in the past." The company has also become a member of the United States Green Building Counci, USGBC, organization.

The basic approach

Many companies like Blum Inc., cabinetparts.com and Century Hardware work hard as companies to recycle, reduce waste and protect the environment.

"Our people strive to not only promote green products, but most importantly work and live a socially responsible life by advancing green business practices," says Pat Abbe, president and founder of cabinetparts.com.

Century Hardware has been changing to more earth-friendly packing materials. "We use 60 percent earth-friendly packing materials in our packaging, but we are looking to replace the Styrofoam peanuts with a more earth-friendly alternative," says company spokesperson Nicole Kosheba.

RPC-Terry makes and supplies functional hardware and has gone to its raw material suppliers and asked for the recycled content of the material it uses. Only the steel supplier could provide material certification. The company does recycle all its steel not used in the manufacturing process and has a fairly complex recycling system on it powdercoating line, says Bob Reesor at RPC-Terry sales and marketing.

Wood Technology just set up an agenda to green the company. That agenda includes clearly defining the environmental goals,involving and educating staff at all levels and setting specific goals for reduction and tracking progress.

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