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Cleveland's first green, worker-owned business opens

Marc Lefkowitz  |  10/21/09 @ 4:01pm

The Evergreen Cooperative Laundry celebrates its grand opening today at 4 p.m. It's an employee-owned business that represents rising interest in an economic model that values building social and environmental as well as personal equity. In the wake of stunning abuses by Washington elites and Wall Street firms from over the counter derivitives to sub-prime mortgages that rocked the very foundations of the global economy, its refreshing to see a Main Street idea capture so much attention.

Evergreen is a sustainable or triple-bottom line business. For one, it will keep some of the billions of dollars of procurement from leaving Cleveland. University Circle's big institutions-like Veteran's Administration Hospital-until now, did not do any local purchasing. The VA will contract with the laundry, helping to employ a dozen or so residents of Glenville and Hough. The Laundry received a loan (not a grant) from the Cleveland Foundation, according to foundation spokewoman, Jennifer Cimperman. On top of building social equity (each owner-employee is in line to earn $65,000 in personal equity), it will reduce the environmental impact of a chemically intense industry.

Media coverage of the Evergreen Laundry

Cleveland.com Yes! Magazine
  • The New York Times reports on the Zero Waste movement in cities across America, Composting-"the next big frontier"-is now mandated as part of a city-wide zero waste effort in San Francisco and Seattle (little Huron, Ohio has a local pay as you throw curbside composting program.)
  • Cleveland has its own a Zero Waste Network, a grass-roots effort led by Entrepreneurs for Sustainability and the 2019 Sustainability Summit zero waste group. Get involved with the network on the zerowasteneo.org site. And 'connect, learn and do' zero waste on Tuesday, October 27, at the E4S event at Great Lakes Brewing highlighting organizations that are working toward zero waste.
  • Habitat for Humanity has a place for you to participate in Cleveland's zero waste effort. Donate your old stuff to their Restore, a retail location, instead of dumping it. Habitat's ReStore can provide the tools and materials for hundreds of home renovations while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of Habitat's Mission.

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