A Green Business Network Member Spotlight
Meet Jenny Fine, owner of K-9 Cabin LLC and member of the Green Business Network. We recently chatted with Jenny to learn more about how she’s incorporating sustainability into her doggie daycare business and her message for others wanting to make a difference.
For Jenny Fine, when it comes to helping the environment, it’s the many small actions – and what you choose not to do – that can make the most difference.
“There’s a quote that I love by Desmond Tutu that goes, ‘Do a little bit of good right where you are, and it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world,’” says Fine.
As the owner of K-9 Cabin, a doggie daycare business she has run out of her home for the past four years, Jenny has put her favorite quote into simple action by helping her dog-sitting clients with their recycling efforts.
“I pick up my clients’ dogs, and oftentimes I’m going into people’s houses through their garages and I could see their trash cans and when they were recycling improperly or not at all. It started with me just leaving a note saying, ‘Hey, I’d be happy to take your glass for recycling whenever I take my own’ and people started taking me up on it.”
Since her first offer, Jenny says she’s collected thousands of bottles of glass along with plastic bags from her clients – all free of charge. She also leaves literature behind for her clients to help them understand the importance of recycling and other environmentally friendly actions, such as composting.
“Most of them just didn’t realize how important it was – that something like recycling one glass bottle can run a TV for two hours – and now many of them have taken it into their own hands. Many have joined curbside service programs like Atlas Glass or KC Can Compost.”
In addition to helping her clients recycle, Jenny says she tries to look through a sustainability lens when solving challenges she faces within her own business operations – and found it when dealing with dog poop.
“When I first started my business, my husband was deployed and taking out the trash became my job. I was putting all my clients’ dog poop in our trash at that time because I dogsit out of my home, and it was disgusting having to haul it down our driveway, which is one-tenth of a mile, every week. We decided to set up a doggie septic system so that it could decompose naturally instead of putting it in the trash. That, along with our own efforts to recycle properly, brought our trash down from six bags a week to only one.”
When she’s not running her business, Jenny uses sustainability as her platform in her roles as Mrs. USA International Global 2019 and Mrs. Kansas Nation of States 2020.
“I think the best thing you can do for sustainability is talk about it. So that’s what I like to do. If nothing else, it gently coaches people in the right direction.”
Jenny’s message to others is as much about not using resources in the first place as it is about recycling.
“I’m actually more into zero waste than I am recycling, especially the preventative measures because it’s so much more helpful to not use the disposable stuff in the first place. It’s completely unacceptable to me that we’re using to-go cups, especially in the fast food industry. To think about how much waste we’re creating is devastating to me. It’s something entirely preventable if we went about it an entirely different way.”
Jenny affirms it can all get overwhelming at times, but encourages people to not get so frustrated that they give up on everything.
“Don’t think that what you’re doing, even if it’s small or imperfect, is insignificant.”
In her pageant duties, Jenny visits schools for speaking engagements and incorporates sustainability into her message to students.
“That’s one thing I’ve really realized…the kids are where we need to be spending our time. When I visit schools, I give the kids a little lunch kit that includes a reusable sandwich container, bag and cup. They take it home to their parents and share what they’ve learned. Parents listen to their kids and are heavily influenced by them. Plus, the younger you start, the bigger the ripple effects will be later on.”
Interested in joining the Green Business Network and sharing your story? Become a member today!