Businesses make big impression with small carbon footprints

COOS BAY, Ore. -- Two Coos Bay businesses are making a big impression with their small carbon footprints.

While dry cleaning is in the business of keeping things tidy, store owner Jerry Wharton takes that a step farther with "Wardrobe Cleaners" in Coos Bay.

"(The) environment's always an issue because would you want to live next to some place that is trashed or anything?" said Wharton. "I still live here ... you always gotta look at that aspect of it."

In 2005, Wharton switched to a solvent that is non-carcinogenic, doesn't leak into the ground water, and makes the clothing feel softer.

Customers aren't the only ones who've noticed the change. The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce awarded Wardrobe Cleaners a "sustainability award" for the month of January.

"Your up-front cost is almost double, but after that some of the other stuff comes back," Wharton said.

Wardrobe Cleaners is the second business that received the sustainability award after the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission received the first one in December.

Nick Furman, a member of the ODCC said that their pot and permit limits coupled with strict regulations are what make the commission environmentally friendly.

"To be recognized not only as having a valuable, economically important fishery but at the same time having one that is sustainable, that's a good story to tell and we really appreciated, we really appreciate the recognition," said Furman.

The rules can be tough on crabbers, but Furman agrees with Wharton in saying the short-term costs pay off in the long run.

"Anything the fisherman can do to ensure that that fishery is going to be healthy for the next generation and the next generation, I think they're willing to do that," Furman said.