The summit is the kickoff to a 12-month initiative to promote green business by the Queens Chamber of Commerce (QCC), the event's main sponsor. According to Jack Friedman, QCC's executive vice president, the summit is more than just a trade show for companies, it's a learning experience.
"We're here teaching businesses ways that they can incorporate new business practices into their existing businesses in order to be more green," explained Friedman.
The summit allows companies to create business connections as well as explain their green efforts. The mix of companies present suggests that businesses in all fields can find their own ways of practicing environmental stewardship.
Crafts and Scents Recreation & Leisure Service is owned by Loretta Coleman, a creative arts specialist. She teaches others how to make gift-worthy crafts by recycling common household items like toilet paper rolls and fabric scraps. Coleman signed up to be part of the summit to demonstrate how the art world is being ecologically-conscious.
Magic Exterminating, based in Flushing, only sprays pest control chemicals as a last resort. When spraying becomes necessary, the chemicals used are organic and contain ingredients such as rosemary and peppermint oil, greatly reducing the environmental impact.
Magic's president Hal Byer mentioned that most people don't associate pest control chemicals with green pest control, but the green movement is catching on, and it's something that people really want.
"It takes the abnormal fear of our profession, it takes it out of the concept, by the fact that we're green," says Byer.
The Office of Recycling Outreach & Education (OROE) is part of the Council on the Environment of New York City. The office teaches residents how to fully participate in NYC's recycling program.
Most people, for example, know that newspapers and cardboard are recyclable, but don't realize that the city also accepts paper towel tubes and junk mail. OROE works with communities on a borough-specific basis to increase the city's recycling rates.
The Center for the Urban Environment also uses education as a tool to promote sustainability. The non-profit organization does a lot of work in the school system, but it also provides workshops and training for communities and local businesses.
"We're at the Green Business Summit, but in reality you can't talk about business and workforce without talking about education first," says Aisha Glover, the center's director of Public Affairs.
Glendale-based AM Exclusive Business Machines, Inc. repairs Hewlett-Packard LaserJet machines for businesses. It also sells compatible toner cartridges, which are made with recycled toner shells.
According to sales manager Jaclyn Miccio, recycled cartridges create less waste in landfills, and they use less energy and money to produce. A savings of 20 percent off the price of the non-recycled cartridge can be passed on to customers, proof that one can save green while still being green.
"People are green-conscious, but when it comes to the dollar, especially in these economic times, the dollar is still above being green, so the companies that are going to survive also have to show how they're going to save money," says Miccio.