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Environmentally Conscious Consumers Catch A Break

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D.J. Kim owns Java Green, an environmentally friendly cafe in downtown D.C. His cafe was one of the first businesses to participate in the Green Backs program.
Sabri Ben-Achour
D.J. Kim owns Java Green, an environmentally friendly cafe in downtown D.C. His cafe was one of the first businesses to participate in the Green Backs program.

By Sabri Ben-Achour

"Green businesses" can at times depend on a niche customer base. But some local entrepreneurs are trying to help widen their appeal.

The lunch rush has customers lining up out the door at Java Green in downtown D.C.

The food here is vegan, the plates are biodegradable, and the electricity is windpowered. Steve Sluchansky just finished a soy-turkey club.

"The more environmentally sensitive a business can be, then for some people like myself, that's gonna increase the appeal," Sluchansky says.

But there's a financial appeal here too: Sluchansky got his sandwich for half off using a "Green Back." It's basically a coupon for green businesses. It was green entrepreneur Steve Ma's idea.

"We want to make it easier for consumers to buy green, and we want to make it easier for businesses to be green," Ma says.

Ma's organization, Live Green, negotiates a discount from a green business, and then announces the deal through a website.

Green Back discounts change each week. Among those in the offing are a green spa, a green pet store, and a green yoga studio.

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