I’ve written a lot about our environment here in Shoreline/Lake Forest Park, and that’s necessary, but sustainability is really about… everything, and around our house we have to keep an eye on affordability, too. I used to buy the Entertainment coupon books from friends who were selling them as fundraisers for various organizations, but then I saw the Chinook Book at the Seattle Green Festival and immediately bought one for my wife. Why would a coupon book be at a Green Festival? And why would I write about it? Simple- because of what’s in it and why.
Chinook Book offers coupons for hundreds of local businesses and makes Celilo Group Media of Portland, Ore. the nation’s largest publisher of green coupon books- over 220 million coupons so far. They make editions for Portland, Seattle/Puget Sound, Denver/Boulder, Minneapolis/St. Paul, East Bay (Oakland/Berkeley), and Silicon Valley/Santa Cruz. Several hundred schools and organizations have made about $2 million selling them.
This sounds like the general coupon book formula, but to get into the Chinook Book at all your company and product need to be proven green. The first Book was produced in 2000 in cooperation with the Sustainable Development Commission of Portland and Multnomah County. Together they determined the inclusion criteria- an intricate and contentious process- and update them annually. As they say on their Web site, “…environmental impact can refer to energy use, water use, toxics emissions, protection of biodiversity, carbon emissions, or some combination of these and other factors.”
They use the established certifications, USDA organic, Forest Stewardship Council, LEED, and Energy Star, for instance, but have added their own for products which aren’t otherwise covered.
The whole idea is to make it easier for concerned people to make good choices and save some money in the process. This book isn’t specific to Shoreline/LFP, and no one will be able to take advantage of all the coupons provided, but I have always made my investment back many times over while visiting favorites and trying new places. I know of groups of friends who each buy one for their own preferences and trade the coupons they won't use with the others.
According to Chrissy of Queen Bee Coupons “The Chinook Book comes out every year in the fall, retails for ONLY $20 and has more than $3,000 in savings! Although the coupon book is Seattle-centric (there are other cities available, too), it has tons of coupons that you can redeem anywhere, so even though I live in Olympia, I do buy this coupon book every year.”