Minneapolis wins national award for supporting green business

Tyler Avestini and his green dry cleaning machine at Avestopolis Cleaners.

Avestopolis Cleaners literally has a green dry cleaning machine.

Tyler Avestini has owned and operated his dry cleaning business in North Minneapolis since the 1990s, before the technology to go green was readily available.

In 2012, Avestini became the original recipient of the city’s award winning Green Business Cost Sharing Program.

“Going green was the best thing I’ve ever done,” Avestini said. “ It’s just too bad that there aren’t many businesses like this.”

The Green Business Cost Sharing Program is trying to change that, and has already reduced air pollution in Minneapolis by nearly 12 tons.

The program is a partnership that provides funds to small businesses — like dry cleaners, printers and auto body shops — that make equipment conversions and adopt new practices to reduce emissions, improving air quality and protecting the health of employees and surrounding communities.

In August, the program was awarded the National Association of County and City Health Officials’ prestigious Model Practice Award.

The Green Business Cost Sharing Program was one of only 23 local health department programs across the nation “that demonstrates exemplary and replicable qualities in response to a local public health need.”

Patrick Hanlon, an environmental initiatives manager for the city, explained that businesses are eager to participate in the program.

“We’d go and meet with the business owners and we found that there was a desire to move toward greener business practices,” Hanlon said. “This will be a resource for businesses to take the next step, whatever that step might be.”

This national recognition serves as encouragement, but the impact the program has had on public health is what inspires Hanlon the most.

He said, “I think it’s more than just an award. It shows that the work is effective.”