The Media Zero Waste Team
“We don’t need a handful of people doing Zero Waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” –Anne-Marie Bonneau, Zero Waste Chef
Last August, this column reprinted an article by Liz Vega entitled, “How Small Business Owners Can Embrace a Zero Waste Mindset.” It suggested several simple practices to help build a zero waste mind-set in a business.
Since then, we have discovered that our neighbor, West Chester, has implemented a “Sustainable Storefront” program whereby businesses in the borough can gain public recognition for their leadership in undertaking Zero Waste practices.
No Zero-Waste shaming for those who don’t sign up—just kudos for those who do.
Why would a business want to participate? A few compelling reasons:
- Zero waste aims to create a healthier and more sustainable world now, as well as in the future as we fight against the long-term effects of climate change.
- In a green-leaning borough like Media, customers appreciate stores and restaurants who make an effort to care for the environment for future generations.
- In a recent survey, 68% of people said they rated sustainability as an important factor when making a purchase, while 28% said they would remain loyal to a company with sustainable and ethical business practices. 35% of respondents stated that they would pay up to 25% more for sustainable products, suggesting that businesses could price zero-waste measures into products and services.
What do West Chester businesses need to do to become a “Sustainable Storefront”? Simple! Bars and restaurants and cafés choose 3 out of 5 of the following practices:
- Use recyclable paper bags for takeout
- No plastic straws – biodegradable option by request
- No Styrofoam
- No plastic takeout containers
- 100% reusable wares for on-site dining
Retail stores commit to:
- Using recyclable paper bags
- Encouraging customers to BYO bags
Many businesses in Media already do the things on this list and more. When you notice a store or restaurant with sustainable practices, be sure and thank them. They are unsung heroes. Maybe it is time to find a way to sing out about how they are helping us all.