We think of blue on the Middle Peninsula, where enthusiasts can explore the magic of the region’s unique waterways by boat, kayak or a picnic on the shore. If you love blue as much as we do, do your part by going green not just in your own home but by whom you choose to do business with. We can learn a lot from a number of MidPen companies that make going green a routine part of what they do.
Here’s how a few MidPen businesses are making an eco-difference.
Recycling matters, so shop at a zero-waste facility whenever possible. On Gloucester Main Street, The Nurtury is an epicenter for community recycling; owner Loree Powell is zero waste at the shop and at home, where she makes all the natural products inside the health and wellness store. The Nurtury refills all of its products in bottles (plastic or glass) at a discounted price and takes back any of the packaging for the products sold for recycling.
“If every producer would do this, there would be no trash,” Powell says. The Nurtury works with TerraCycle to offer recycling of select manufacturers’ packaging or products that are not recyclable at waste management sites.
Among the feel-good finds there: When you buy a 4Ocean bracelet or water bottle, each product sold pulls a pound of plastic from the ocean. Bugged by mosquitos? Pick up a bottle of Super Shield bug spray. It’s all-natural ingredients repel pests and moisturize skin. No chemicals! With summer approaching, don’t leave without a bottle of Nurtury sunscreen, which relies on raspberry seed oil (not chemicals) for protection. “What you put on your skin goes into your body,” Powell reminds.
Got stuff of your own to recycle? Middlesex Metals Inc in Urbanna gives cash for scrap.
Look for businesses that minimize disposables. That can be a simple as carrying a reusable shopping bag of your own or saving your bag after a shopping trip for your return visit. At Northern Neck Popcorn Bag on Gloucester Main Street, returning with your used bag earns a punch toward a free snack size of popcorn.
Eating out? Look for restaurants that compost as Big Oak Café does in Urbanna. The breakfast and lunch eatery composts eggshells and all vegetable shavings and cuts. They return the shells from the oysters they use back to the local oyster reefs.
Zoll Vineyards in Dutton recycles its cardboard, sangria fruit and kitchen scraps and combines them with garden trimmings, manure and lime to make compost. In the last two years, the vineyard has made more than 800 square feet of compost. The Gloucester County vineyard also recycles wine bottles and offers them free for people who plan to repurpose them!
Kudos to Gloucester Brewing Company, which doesn’t just trash its spent grains, the malted barley and leftover grains after brewing. They give the spent grain to a local farmer who uses it as compost and to feed his livestock.
The hospitality industry uses an enormous amount of water; book your overnight stays in places that prioritize conservation. The Inn at Tabbs Creek in Mathews County, for example, has been recognized as a Virginia Green business and won multiple awards for its efforts. The waterfront B&B relies on a Hague water treatment system, which uses reverse osmosis rather than chemicals to treat the water. It’s updated eco-friendly pool is chlorine-free and minus the chemicals that burn the eyes (and poison the environment). The Inn installed Dual Flush toilets in guest rooms to save thousands of gallons of water per year. Staff uses earth-friendly cleaning products and phosphate-free detergents to reduce chemical pollution in our water.
Kudos, too, to Virginia River Cottages in Hartfield, which does not launder linens for the same guest during a stay. When the linens are washed, they are lined dried and pressed by hand.
Going organic is always a good idea, whether you’re talking about food or leather balm! Black Feather Wood & Leather in West Point is a one-stop shop for leather goods and sells a premium leather balm that can clean up your work boots or add shine to your Gucci wallet. It’s 100% organic and contains no preservatives or chemicals. Everything in the store is handmade from handpicked full grain leather.
Offering a shoutout to Dayspring Farm in King & Queen County, which relies on healthy soil practices and natural fertilization. The 18-acre farm owned by Charlie and Miriam Maloney offers a subscriber-grower agreement that allows folks to receive an assortment of vegetables, fruits and herbs, all bounty grown with good ecological management practices. Look for organic produce the third Saturday of every month at Tappahannock Farmers Market, too.