Businesses Go Green

Local Restaurants Reduce Waste

Here is what some local businesses are doing to reduce waste (taken from individual interviews conducted by the Recycling Coordinator). This page will be updated as more interviews are conducted. If you would like to let people know about the steps your business is taking to "go green" let us know by contacting the Recycling Coordinator at email or calling 209-966-5165.

David Parke, owner, Sugar Pine Restaurant, January 7, 2011

  • Motivation: to “get the most out of our resources” and because “aluminum is a really filthy industry
  • Has recycling bins to collect glass, plastic, metal cans and aluminum; also recycles batteries
  • Has three broken microwaves he’s saving to take to the fairgrounds for recycling
  • Serves glass bottle sodas, such as Mexican Coca-cola, as a marketing tool because he thinks it’s “neat to have soda from a glass bottle”
  • Redeems his CRVs for cash. Mexican Coke bottles are not redeemable but are recycled with other glass
  • Most of his food waste is composted-some is taken home by his aunt and business partner, Susan Posey, and some by other staff members. For awhile some went to a pig, but it was slaughtered. He would like to “hook up” with an earthworm farm to take the food waste
  • A local person takes all of their cardboard. David breaks down boxes, does not have to bale or tie cardboard. That person then sells it. David does not know the person’s name.
  • He is stockpiling his used fluorescent tubes and CFLs (compact fluorescent lightbulbs). He is aware they can’t be landfilled. He uses CFLs in the dining room that are dimmable to save energy.
  • He changes his fryer oil once a week and stores it in a 55 gal. tank in the back of the restaurant. David Raboy picks it up about once a month for use as fuel
  • He fills up a small dumpster about once a week with other waste.
  • He uses white paper bags for takeout food and baked goods. He would like to use something other than bleached paper but likes the look of the white because he thinks people associate white with cleanliness
  • He tried compostable straws, but they were cost prohibitive-cost twice as much as plastic
  • Most take home clamshells are made from compostable corn or potato starch, although some are cardboard (depending on the food item). Cutlery is also compostable. It is packed in plastic wrap with a napkin. (spoon, knife, fork) He’s not sure if his staff asks if customers want the cutlery when they pick up an order or if it is handed out as a matter of course
  • He would be interested in a waste audit
  • He would be interested in having a separate food waste run
  • He would be interested in a presentation by waste management and recycling
  • He is working on buying locally grown food and sustainably grown meat

Bob Pickard, owner High Country Café and Health Food Store January 7. 2011

  • Has recycling bins for glass, metal, aluminum, plastics
  • Recycles the magazines and newspapers that are not taken from the newsstand
  • Uses compostable or biodegradable straws, stirrers (wood), takeout containers, cutlery, glasses, cold drink cups (paper), lids, clamshells, portion cups and lids (for mayonnaise, etc.)
  • Uses paper rather than plastic wrap except for desserts and pickles (“That is a problem we haven’t been able to solve.”)
  • Staff gives customers only the utensil that is necessary for the meal they ordered
  • A local person picks up kitchen trimmings (peels, lettuce leaves, tomato ends, etc.) for chickens twice a week. Table scraps are thrown in the trash.
  • Cardboard boxes are baled with those from 49er Market and picked up by a local person.
  • The booths in the restaurant were taken from an old restaurant and wood fixtures made from waste wood Bob had at home.
  • They will fill coffee cups customers bring in and will consider giving an incentive for bringing own cups
  • “Doggie bags” consist of aluminum foil for hot items and paper bags for cold.
  • Are going to individually wrapped tea bags because does not like the idea of people touching other customers’ tea bags to break them apart. (New tea is organic, however)
  • Customers could bring their own containers for leftovers but not for takeout food. (Against health code to have any containers from outside the kitchen in the kitchen)
  • Large empty chip bags are used to put recyclables in
  • He is willing to help organize a meeting with other restaurant owners about waste reduction. Likes the idea of having it at the landfill with a tour of the facility included.
  • He shares a 3-yard dumpster with the flower shop and fills it about every other week. Flower shop disposes of a lot of cuttings. (Could be part of food waste run?)
  • He separates out his non-recyclable plastic and would like to be able to bring it to the landfill and know that it was not entering the compost facilit
  • Produce bags are Number 2 recyclable-best he’s been able to find
  • No longer carries plastic shopping bags, only paper
  • Asks if customer wants a bag, rather than automatically putting items in bag
  • Encourages people to bring own bags-“Got your Bags” cling (designed and provided by Mariposa County Public Works) on door, stencil on sidewalk in front of door (joint project of Public Works and Mariposa Schools); gives away small “Got Your Bags” reminder clings for patrons’ car windows
  • Estimates about 15-20% of customers bring own bags; another 10-20% don’t take a bag, carry to car in shopping basket or hands
  • Has bulk bins for herbs and spices, flour, pastas, coffee, dried fruit and nuts, liquid detergent and soaps
  • No longer gives out containers for bulk soaps. Customers have to provide.
  • Encourages customers to bring in their own containers for herbs and spices. Will weigh them first.
  • Any unsold produce that is not too bad goes to chickens (Fills up a 5-gal. bucket about 2 times/week.)
  • His first priority in buying produce is to buy locally grown, organic