Questions and Answers for Be Green Businesses
How do I become a Be Green Organic Yards NY Business?
By signing a Be Green Business service mark license agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), a business agrees to adhere to the following conditions:
- Ensure that every business employee that provides Be Green services has successfully completed a seven (7) hour Be Green Organic Yards NY basic training course, and passed the qualifying course exam, both of which must have been provided by an approved Be Green Organic Yards NY Course Provider.
- Submit a complete Be Green service mark agreement, signed by an authorized business representative, and a Confirmation of Completion of Basic Training Course and Exam form, for each business location, with the name of each individual who has successfully completed the basic training course and exam.
- Ensure that, every two years from the date of the basic training course and exam, the business representative who has successfully completed the basic training course, shall have completed a four (4) hour Be Green Organic Yards NY continuing education course.
- Ensure that each trained Be Green business representative carries on their person, a Be Green Organic Yards NY card, issued by the DEC, when providing Be Green services. The Be Green business is responsible for the custody of such cards and must return the card if an employee leaves, if the individual does not complete biannual continuing education, or if the license agreement is terminated for any reason.
- When providing Be Green services, the business shall agree to the prohibitions listed in the Be Green Organic Yards NY conditions.
- Use the Be Green Organic Yards NY service mark only when providing services consistent with the Be Green program and this agreement.
- Not use the Be Green service mark in conjunction with, or displayed on, any product of the Be Green business.
- Provide each customer receiving Be Green services a copy of the Be Green service mark agreement and acquaint them with the prohibitions.
How Do I find a Be Green Course Provider?
A list of course providers is posted on the Be Green website.
Do people who take Be Green courses get an organic certification or license?
Be Green is not a certification or accreditation program and does not result in a license to practice organic land care. Be Green is also not a pesticide applicator certification program. It is a program in which a qualified business or course provider are allowed to use the Be Green service mark, if they meet certain conditions accepted by the DEC and enter into a service mark agreement with DEC .
Does every employee providing Be Green services need to take a Be Green Course and Exam?
No. The Be Green Business service mark agreement states: Ensure that the Business Representative is present at any site receiving Be Green services for the duration of the services provided under this agreement. This means that at least one Be Green trained employee of the business must be on the customer or facility site whenever the business is providing Be Green services. The trained employee may provide on-site supervision to the other employees providing Be Green services.
What are the product prohibitions in the service mark agreement while providing Be Green services?
The following products are prohibited from being applied under the Be Green Program:
- Synthetic herbicides, insecticides, insect growth regulators, fungicides, rodenticides, or molluscides (except those limited synthetic products allowed by the United States DEC of Agriculture's National Organic Program Title 7: Agriculture, Part 205 - National Organic Programs, Subpart G - Administrative, The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances § 205.601);
- Products that contain synthetic synergists;
- Products that contain inert ingredients on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) List 1: Inert Ingredients of Toxicological Concern;
- Arsenical pesticides, Nicotine and Rotenone;
- Soil Fumigants;
- Plant material or seeds derived from genetically modified organisms;
- Synthetic fertilizers or fertilizers derived from sewage sludge; and
- Chemically treated wood (including pressure-treated wood) and other treated articles.
May I apply pesticides exempt from federal registration by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) otherwise known as minimum risk pesticides?
Yes. The application of minimum risk pesticides that satisfy the EPA 25(b) criteria are not prohibited by the Be Green service mark agreement. However, the application of these products on someone else's property is still the commercial application of a pesticide requiring a certified applicator. If the business is offering the services of pesticide applications, the business must still register with the DEC. In addition, the business must enter into a commercial lawn contract and post notification markers, if applicable.
May a Be Green Business still offer conventional pesticide ornamental and turf services to other customers?
Yes. A business may still continue to offer conventional pesticide services for other customers, however, a Be Green business may not apply a product or material prohibited by this agreement on a customer's property receiving Be Green services during a given calendar year. If the Be Green business uses a prohibited product or practice on the property of a Be Green customer during the calendar year, it will be considered a violation of the agreement. The Be Green business will not be considered in violation of this agreement if the customer contracts with a third party for services not in accordance with the conditions in this agreement, but the Be Green business may not continue to represent the property as receiving Be Green services for the remainder of the calendar year. All of this must be reflected in records kept by the Be Green Business.
What if a Be Green business began offering Be Green services to a customer without understanding that they could not switch to conventional services during that calendar year?
The Service Mark agreement clearly states that a Be Green business may not provide a service or apply a product or material prohibited by the agreement on a site receiving Be Green services during a given calendar year. Be Green businesses are expected to adhere to the agreement.
Businesses that entered into Be Green Service Mark agreements with the Department during the initial stages of the program, and which may not have understood that provision at that time, were sent a June 9, 2011 letter clarifying that point as well as the purpose of the required Be Green training. These businesses were given until June 30, 2011 to re-establish the type of service they wished to provide their clients during 2011.
What is the purpose of the date on the Be Green Identification Card?
The Be Green I.D. card is issued to each business representative who passed the Be Green basic training course and exam. The Be Green I.D. card displays the service mark agreement expiration date, which is four years from the date the service mark agreement was signed. The Be Green business must reapply every four years to maintain the service mark agreement. Each Be Green business representative who took a Be Green basic training course must also attend a Be Green continuing education course every two years from the date they took the initial basic training course. This date does not appear on the card. The Be Green business must monitor the dates required for continuing education for their employees.
Are there any records required with the Be Green program?
Yes. The Be Green business service mark agreement states that, for the duration of the agreement, the business must maintain and make readily available to the DEC upon request, the following records: (a) a copy of the Be Green Organic Yards NY service mark agreement (PDF), (88 kb, 8 page) (b) a document, if any, identifying the service advertised or promoted in connection with the use of the service mark, (c) records showing the date and place where any Be Green services were provided, and (d) a list of the products applied and services provided. These records shall be retained for a minimum of three years. In the event that one of your customers requests a product that violates the service mark agreement, your records must also state the address and the date when that customer went off the Be Green program.
Are there any fees associated with the Be Green program?
No, there are no fees paid to the DEC for participating in the program. This is a voluntary program and businesses can decide whether or not to participate by entering into a service mark agreement with the DEC for the use of the Be Green service mark. The agreement contains conditions a participant must follow. If the business does not follow the conditions, the DEC can terminate the agreement and the business would no longer be able to use the service mark. There may be fees paid to course providers who provide the basic training and continuing education training for the Be Green program.
How will I get the word out that I offer Be Green services?
Your usual advertising channels would be available and you may use the Be Green service mark for marketing activities consistent with the service mark agreement. When your business signs a service mark agreement you will be provided a high resolution service mark image for your use. The DEC will maintain a list of all Be Green businesses on the DEC website. DEC does not provide stickers with the service mark. While the business may not use the Be Green service mark on any signs required for the Neighbor Notification Law or commercial lawn notification markers, they may display separate Be Green service mark signs on the lawn to advertise such services, in accordance with the service mark agreement.
What happens if I violate the agreement?
You could lose your right to use the service mark and potentially have your service mark agreement terminated; you must return Be Green I.D. cards to the DEC, and would no longer be listed on the DEC website as a Be Green business. There will be no fines or enforcement actions, unless you have violated a New York State law or regulation.
What if the DEC decides I have violated the agreement but I disagree?
You have the right to go to arbitration. See the agreement for details.
If I can use the service mark, can I also use the NYSDEC symbol?
No, the service mark agreement allows use of the Be Green service mark only.
If you have other questions, please contact the DEC at: BeGreen@gw.dec.state.ny.us.