Landscaping company taxes itself on its carbon dioxide usage

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Photo: Greener EnvironmentsPhoto: Greener Environments

Greener Environments Landscaping, the Los Osos, California-based landscape company owned and operated by husband and wife team Melody and Luke Huskey, is working to provide its customers with low-maintenance, water-saving landscaping that looks beautiful while also using limited resources and promoting a culture of environmental stewardship.

To truly stick to the saying “practice what you preach,” they have applied a self-imposed “carbon tax” on the company’s net revenues to compensate for its gasoline-burning equipment.

This tax is calculated monthly at a rate of $25 per ton of CO2 emitted during operations, and the accumulated funds are donated at the end of the year to environmentally-friendly landscaping for a non-profit, public space or school.

“We’ll be the first to admit it, our trucks and equipment are anything but fuel efficient,” saidLuke Huskey, Greener Environments’ co-owner .  “Unfortunately, there are simply no fuel efficient trucks or machinery on the market that would meet the heavy demands of landscaping operations. While the carbon sequestration and water conservation benefits of the landscapes we build more than offsets the environmental harm of our equipment, we decided to take it one step further.”

GREEN Landscape Initiative Placard for certified sustainable businessesDue in part to this radical approach to the landscaping business, Luke received a “Top 20 Under 40 Award” in his hometown of San Luis Obispo, California.

The company offers frequent free hands-on classes in sustainable design, drought-resistant landscaping and water catchment. It also provides certification through its “G.R.E.E.N. Landscapes Initiative” which publicly recognizes businesses, public spaces and homes that support a healthy environment. The acronym “G.R.E.E.N.” stands for: Good Soil; Rainwater Catchment; Environmentally Efficient; Native Plants.

“Here in California we’re so blessed to have an amazing Mediterranean climate that allows us so many options for growing plants that are both beautiful and drought-resistant,” said Melody Huskey, Greener Environments’ co-owner.  “One of the things I love to work with lately are native manzanita and California field sedge. The strong burgundy trunk of the manzanita is a lovely juxtaposition to the soft texture and the green color of the sedge.”

Greener Environments also offers several free downloadable e-books via their website.

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