“We’ve approached our business looking at the environmental side of things since we were founded in the early 70’s,” said owner Chuck Menzel. “However, there’s always something to learn and meeting with City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Courtney Lindberg after hearing her speak at a Downtown Ventura Organization meeting made me realize there was more we could be doing as a business.”
In 1998, this family owned business established its online site, wsurf.com or wetsandandsurf.com, and has since grown to become one of the largest online surf sites showcasing products, surf travel and events, art, videos, photography, and living the ‘ocean experience.
The WetSand store, located at 46 E. Main Street in downtown Ventura opened its doors in 2008 and carries surfing gear, men and women’s clothing and other beach related merchandise.
Even before becoming a green certified business, WetSand implemented such sustainable practices as: outfitting the store with LED lighting and low flow faucets and toilets, assigning each employee their own reusable hand towel for bathroom use, allotting recycling boxes at every employee desk.
“Some of the areas we realized that we could improve on included rethinking the types of cleaning products we used. We learned that there were definitely others that were more eco-friendly,” said Menzel. “Additionally, instead of using cardboard boxes at employee desks for recycling, we now have nice, new blue bins provided by the City and we’ve posted better signage to educate and inform our employees about sustainable practices.”
The store, which receives a lot of inventory that’s shipped in packing materials, reuses those materials whenever possible. Customers are also encouraged to either bring or use reusable bags to transport purchased items home. The store even offers attractive low cost cotton bag options.
“In our store, we always strive for the organic appeal and we’re very art driven,” said Menzel proudly. “All the floor displays in our store are made from recycled wood and all furniture are items we’ve picked up at swap meets and thrift stores.”
In talking about eco-friendly practices, Menzel can’t help but share one fact about the surfing industry he hopes to see change. “The $99 Polystyrene surfboards that are being sold today are the number one polluting object on our beaches. They are 100% NOT biodegradable,” laments Menzel. “It would behoove surfers to pay a little more for a good quality Polyurethane board because they’re meant to last and be reused again and again.”
“Being sustainable is a way you live your life — at home and in the workforce,” continued Menzel. “Becoming a certified green business is a conscious way to find out how you can do more as well as get other businesses thinking about what they can do. This is our home and we need to preserve it. I’m proud Ventura is taking a leadership role.”
WetSand • 446 E. Main Street • Ventura, Ca 93001• 800-750-7501
-Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV