Marion Street Tattoo becomes first "Certifiably Green" tat shop in Denver

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Earlier this year, Marion Street Tattoo was officially certified as a green business by the Denver Department of Environmental Health. The only tattoo shop in the city to currently hold the title, the business hopes to set an example for other tattoo shops.

Owner and artist Ryan Willard and says he got the idea to apply for the city's Certifiably Green program after chatting with some other business owners in the area.

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Opened in 2011, the shop is located in a residential home on Marion Street, with 17th Avenue running almost behind the slice of real estate it sits on -- and a community has grown out of the varying stores and restaurants on the block.

"We'd like to turn 17th Avenue into like a 'green belt' -- be one of the first in the state," Willard says.

But there were some challenges, says Nate Stephens, a tattoo apprentice at Marion Street who helped with the process. "The department had never done this with a tattoo shop; so, they based their audit on a dentist's office, because it is kind of similar in terms of, there are certain things we can't recycle. There are things that have to be disposed of in a certain way, just because there's blood-borne pathogens involved."

"In terms of our disposables, we have a recycle bin. We reuse all of our paper -- we're conscious of that," Stephens says. "We can't recycle needles, so we dispose of those a certain way. We use an autoclave for our tubes, so that cuts down on waste."

Certifiably Green is a free program; when a business applies, the city assigns an adviser to visit and help the owner assess water-conservation options, energy-efficiency options, and ways to minimize waste and save money.

Much of the focus at Marion Street Tattoo went into changing the business's daily habits, as well as retrofitting the decades-old building to be more energy-efficient.


Location Info

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Marion Street Tattoo/Gallery

1668 Marion St., Denver, CO

Category: General


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