For the past few years, our town conservation commission has recognized a business owner with our annual conservation and environmental award. Now you have to realize our town may be one of the greenest in Maine, since we have had an ordinance for almost two and a half years banning the use of chemical and synthetic pesticides on all town and private land. When we give an environmental award, you know it has to be special.
Our past awards have gone to first one and then a second motel/hotel owner. Both of these owners even before we passed our ordinance banning chemical and synthetic pesticides endeavored to use green products for both their interior cleaning as well as their lawns.
Mary Breen, this year’s recipient, opened her bakery perhaps 25 years ago or so in the heart of Ogunquit. Mary has a lot to teach us about being environmentally conscientious. She uses locally sourced products whenever possible – eggs, local vegetables, Maine roasted coffee, and Maine grains – encouraging local businesses while saving gas used for shipping thus keeping our air cleaner.
For the past eight years, she has used green packaging – compostable cups, forks, knives, spoons, all made from potatoes and sugarcane. Most of her wrapping is biodegradable. She gives a discount if a customer brings his or her own coffee mug. She also initiated bike deliveries to customers on the beach.
She recycles the majority of her waste, with one company picking up single-sort recyclables and another company picking up compostables.
When Mary purchased a separate building for the majority of her baking, she invested in energy saving appliances and on-demand hot water. Rooftop solar power is her next goal.
“Long before recycling was popular,” Mary has said, “it was a philosophy I learned from my mother. Now it is time to pass this on to another generation.”
We don’t need to own a business to follow what Mary has accomplished and help make this a cleaner world for our kids and the generations to follow. We can use her wisdom and follow her leadership in our homes and everyday lives.