This Saturday, April 22nd, millions worldwide will celebrate caring for our most important collective resource — the vitality of our home planet.
In honor of Earth Day, YNPN of Austin is recognizing local organizations that are helping their employees go green at work
The Vortex’s Krystle Kelley says, “We have been committed to building our zero waste initiative for several years now. We use only compostable plates, napkins, and utensils, including bamboo stir sticks and compostable straws that are made out from corn. We have a lot of signage to help the customers and the employees figure out whether what they are disposing of is compostable, recyclable, or needs to just go to the landfill.
Kelley said that the staff were very welcoming of the changes. “A few of them even started composting at home,” she said. “We had someone come out from the City of Austin and do a training for the whole staff where they got to ask lots of questions, and that made it a lot easier.”
United Way for Greater Austin recently recently had volunteers from Kerbey Lane Cafe remodel one of their employee kitchens. When they did this, they adopted a reusable utensils initiative, adding new kitchenware such as plates, forks, knives, and mugs that can be washed instead of one-use disposable items.
BCL of Texas has implemented an employee composting program and will be using the resulting compost to grow a veggie garden. Members of the Austin Green Business Leaders, their employees hold monthly Green Team meetings. The organization has a no-styrofoam policy, and encourages employees to use reusable glasses and water bottles.
Robert Nathan Allen of Little Herds says, “We encourage our volunteers to do their part, whether it's riding public transportation or bikes to events; composting organics and recycling; reducing the amount of red meat at our events and using more plant and insect-based proteins; or working towards making larger events we take part in as close to zero waste as possible.”
At a recent event, they repurposed nearly 5 lbs of food waste to feed to insects instead of sending it to the landfill. Allen said, “It may not seem like a lot, but if every Austin event began to reduce the amount of wasted food, it would add up really quickly with as many events as our city has!”