Earth Day never comes once a year for Philip Beere and Kevin Stumpff.
The East Valley residents don’t employ many — about a dozen between them. They don’t give millions for environmental causes.
What they are are two small business owners who are quietly creating a healthier ecosystem.
A year ago Beere began EcoFresh, a Scottsdale carpet cleaning business that uses bio-based, or plant-derived, cleaners that are nontoxic. His three company vehicles and even the carpet cleaning equipment he uses on jobs run on bio-diesel, a nonpetroleum fuel.
Stumpff began WindSwept Organix in Chandler a year ago. The company specializes in environmentally friendly ways to control chemicallyladen storm runoff from finding its way into waterways. It also has improved ways to more quickly revegetate slopes following erosion.
Beere says his small undertaking can be a model for others. "Doing things the traditional way might be convenient and it might be cheaper, but that doesn’t mean it’s the better way of doing things," he said. "Even though operating our business the way we do may be more expensive, you can look at us and see that we’re profitable, and hopefully other small businesses can think of other ways they can change their business to be more environmentally friendly."
Beere, 37, who owned a restaurant in Portland, Ore., said his bio-based cleaners are safer for babies, pets and asthma sufferers. But he took the idea further when he says he became the only Arizona company to operate not only its vehicles on bio-fuel, but also its equipment.
"The beauty to bio-fuel is no modifications have to be done to a diesel engine so, we run it in our diesel engine vehicles," he said. "However, we did have to do a special order on our equipment to run bio-fuel. We are really providing a service that is healthy for the indoor environment and we don’t want to stop there. When we’re going from appointment to appointment, we want to lower our emissions in our vehicles."
Beere pays about $1 more a gallon for bio-diesel than regular diesel and he has to get it from supplier near downtown Phoenix.
Paige Murphy-Young, a Tempe resident who worked as a government environmental attorney and holds a master’s degree in biology, said she had Beere clean her carpets after noticing one of his trucks at a post office.
"I don’t like the chemicals people use, not that anyone in our family has severe allergies or anything like that, it’s just what I know about the business," she said. "I believe you want to keep these people in business so there is an option out there.
For Stumpff, who was in the computer business in Nebraska before coming to the East Valley, WindSwept Organix is a family affair. He owns it with his wife, Jodi, and a brother-in-law.
The company operates pneumatic blower trucks to spread compost and mulch for erosion control purposes. Also, the company uses long, heavy hollow socks to ring around inlets, on the sides of hills, on golf course and anywhere else erosion control is necessary.
"We utilize products that use recycled material and filter the storm water," Stumpff said. "We’ve been trying to educate people on these technologies. Some of the older technologies don’t work real good or they’re not maintained properly. We’ve been donating some products to different developers and graders and government agencies for them to evaluate how well they perform and to educate them there’s better ways to do these things that are a little more environmentally friendly."