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  • OOS Recycleworks: Green Business photo

Green Business

The Office of Sustainability certifies and promotes small to medium-sized businesses that operate in an environmentally-responsible manner through the San Mateo County Green Business Program. By offering technical assistance and resources, the County helps local businesses save money by teaching them how to conserve energy and water, minimize waste, prevent pollution, and shrink their carbon footprints.

The program, which is part of the California Green Business Network, is available to small and medium businesses throughout San Mateo County in the following sectors: office/retail, restaurant/catering, hotel, cleaning services, auto repair, small manufacturing, printing, and medical/dental practices.

While the program focuses on retail and commercial businesses, County and City facilities and individual department locations can also apply for certification.

By joining the program, businesses learn how to integrate sustainable practices into their operations while saving money and improving employee and customer health.

OOS green business certification infographic

Certified Green Businesses throughout California have taken huge steps to protect our environment by making simple changes in their business practices. These include upgrading outdated and inefficient electrical equipment, replacing old toilets and aerators with low-flow options, practicing water-conserving landscaping techniques, purchasing durable materials and eliminating disposable items, utilizing compost and recycling programs, and using low-toxic products.

Green Certification lasts three years and distinguishes businesses as members of an accredited program with high standards and verifiable requirements. Certified businesses gain recognition and a marketing edge through promotional events, press coverage, and registry on the statewide Green Business directory.

Certification is easy and involves a few simple steps. The first step is to register online with the California Green Business Network. After signing up online, we will conduct an initial walk through and help you complete the Green Business checklist. You may need to complete some changes to meet the checklist requirements. Once you have completed all of the requirements, we will verify through a final site visit.

  1. Enrollment and Registration: fill out your business profile and register through the Green Business website
  2. Initial Walk-Through and Consultation: Contact Green Business Coordinator Hannah Doress, hdoress@smcgov.org, (650) 599-1468
  3. Audits and Compliance Checks
  4. Implementation of Measures
  5. Final Site Visit and Verification
  6. Certification!


Contact Hannah Doress
Green Business Coordinator, San Mateo County Office of Sustainability
hdoress@smcgov.org    (650) 599-1468

The next time you get a craving for a lobster roll or crab sandwich this side of the coast, you might want to try one of San Mateo County’s certified green businesses, New England Lobster Market & Eatery, in Burlingame. The company started selling lobsters wholesale and to the public across the Bay Area in 1987. After its success with the “We’re On A Roll” food truck in South San Francisco in 2011, New England Lobster opened an eatery and market in Burlingame the following year. The restaurant offers a “crack-it-yourself” crustacean experience, with lobster served right out of the pot, says owner Marc Worrall.

The New England Lobster Market & Eatery earned its Green Business Certification in October 2017, thanks to its efforts to save energy and water, including:

  • Upgrading all its pumps and refrigeration to new energy-efficient models
  • Replacing its lighting with LEDs and energy-efficient fixtures through San Mateo County Energy Watch’s turnkey, direct-install lighting program for small businesses and nonprofits
  • Painting its roof white and installing insulation and ceiling fans to reduce the use of air conditioning
  • Installing low-flow toilets in customer restrooms

The eatery has also reduced its waste stream by:

  • Reusing all of its packaging for incoming and outgoing shipments of shellfish
  • Packing to-go orders in compostable take-out containers
  • Composting food scraps from its kitchen and eatery
  • Purchasing benches and tables for the eatery from reclaimed wood

“New England Lobster has been practicing green ever since green was [just] a color,” Worrall says – “It’s important to participate in protecting the environment as best we can. We all need to do our part and reuse resources whenever possible.”