Eco-Friendly Entrepreneurs

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First came the bike messengers. Then there were realtors who would bike with you to look at homes for sale in bike-friendly neighborhoods. Now, at least in Bend, there are eco-friendly entrepreneurs who will blend your smoothie by pedaling their bike.

What do these entrepreneurs have in common? They all see pedal power as a better – less expensive, environmentally cleaner, and more enjoyable – way to get the job done. The owners of BlenderZ Juice’n’Java in Bend, Karen and Erik Hammer, have fun finding new ways to do their job – and get to their job – while using human power instead of consuming gas, electricity or battery power.

The smoothies at BlenderZ aren’t all blended by pedal power. The pedal blender was created for offering smoothies at schools, festivals and community events. But the pedal blender is fun, and symbolic. “I think if you had to pedal everything you ate, you’d think more about what you put in your body,” says Karen Hammer.

The owners of BlenderZ use other green business practices every day. They use local products like Strictly Organic Espresso and Coffee, Rockin’ Dave’s bagels, Tula Baking Company’s gluten-free baked goods, MyChai, and Eberhard’s Ice Cream. They buy Willamette Valley fruit whenever possible. They use biodegradable corn packaging, and donate their coffee grounds to local organic farmers for composting.

We don’t all have the balance and coordination to ride a unicycle to work. So, although Erik Hammer unicycles from his East Bend home to his coffee and smoothie business on 8th and Greenwood, this mode of travel isn’t mandatory for his employees. They get to work in a variety of ways, including walking, bicycling and long (skate) boarding.

BlenderZ owners and employees participated in the 20th Annual Commute Options Week in June, in the 6 employees and under category. “It may not seem like a lot for 6 people to use commute options, but it does,” says Jeff Monson, executive director of Commute Options. A hypothetical car which travels an 18-mile round trip commute, 5 days a week, 48 weeks a year, spews 4,500 lbs. of carbon dioxide, 160 pounds of carbon monoxide (CO), 16 lbs. each of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxide (NOx), and other toxic materials into the air we breathe.

“We don’t have the stats yet on how using a bike blender keeps our air cleaner,” says Monson. “But we know that the more ideas business owners can find to reduce their emissions, the better off we’ll all be.”

Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information about Commute Options, contact Jeff Monson, executive director of Commute Options at 541/330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org.

Annissa Anderson is a freelance writer and PR consultant in Bend.

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