Going “Green” – from separating recyclables to sustainability

“Green” was a major theme in 2010. From purchasing water bottles made with less plastic to using recycled paper products, many individuals and companies were recognized for their work toward becoming more eco-friendly. But as we approach the New Year, the general public seems to be tiring of this “green” word, and many even question the validity when it is used loosely as an adjective.

In 2011, I predict a trend away from green and toward sustainable. People will ask not who is recycling plastics, but who is benefiting the long-term sustainability of the environment. Green is an act, but sustainable is a lifestyle.

Zapwater client Blue Plate, a catering and food services company, is working to become fully sustainable. Its first step toward this end goal was to hire full-time sustainability coordinator Laura Lukas. She was tapped to make sure Blue Plate wasn’t missing any eco-friendly opportunities. She even followed the trash through the trash collection process for a day to ensure it was being recycled and disposed of properly. Now that’s dedication!

With preferred vendor status at more than 85 Chicago locations, including some of the city’s most well known cultural institutions, Blue Plate has an opportunity to affect eco-friendly initiatives at a wide variety of events, as well as promote similar initiatives throughout the city. These are a few steps that, together, not only make Blue Plate green, they make it sustainable, a business that operates in harmony with the environment.

These are just a few of the strategies Blue Plate is implementing to become sustainable:

*Blue Plate donates 200 lbs of waste each day to a farm that uses composted materials to produce plants, vegetables, etc. *Blue Plate donates all unused food to the Pacific Garden Mission so nothing goes to waste *Energy Star dishwashing systems have been installed to decrease water use *Electronics, light bulbs, batteries, cooking oil, and other products are recycled daily *Blue Plate serves local product when available and is initiating sustainable food choices and organic bar options *Reducing paper products such as junk mail (canceled 200 print subscriptions within the first three days, cutting paper waste by 30%)

Many of these strategies are easy to apply at home. Happy holidays and have a very sustainable 2011!

Susie Schreiber Account Supervisor