The Earth Day spirit has caught on with many Lawrence businesses, and managers say the changes reflect more than a temporary jump on the environmental bandwagon.
"I hope that we're not on the environmental bandwagon because that implies a passing fad," said Carine Ullom, co-owner of Simple Goods General Store, 735 Mass.
"I think the awareness levels are going up all the time. People are starting to realize that we are polluting the land, the air and the water, and I think most businesses are doing what they can to cut down."
Ullom and other local business managers are selling more environmentally friendly products or implementing a range of measures to cut down on the amount of waste.
"I usually think of it in terms of everything that people purchase is going to end up somewhere, eventually," Ullom said.
"I think more people are thinking along the same lines and are becoming more aware of that."
Here's a sampling of what some local businesses are doing to help the environment.
SIMPLE GOODS GENERAL STORE
Recycled paper products have been the biggest sellers at this business, which offers more than 100 products with the environment in mind. Ullom said recycled stationery and gift wrap are a consistant big seller with customers. Environmental magazines also are popular, she said. Ullom also said Earth Day T-shirts currently are in high demand. "People bought them last year and they want another one that has this year on it," she said.
Catalogs made from recycled paper are used by store employees, and brochures offering price specials made out of recycled paper are given to customers, said Chuck Adams, assistant manager. The store, 804 Mass., which offers clothing, camping equipment and other items, also has canvas shopping bags that may be reused. "We also ask if customers could do without a (paper) bag if they are purchasing a small item,'' Adams said. In addition, he said the store's adding machine has a roll of recycled paper.
McDonald's restaurants has just announced plans to cut back on waste at the company's 8,500 U.S. restaurants. It will replace plastic foam packaging with paper wrapping and convert to unbleached paper bags. It will increase recycling efforts, experiment with reusable items and begin testing for composting organic and paper waste. Jerry Guffey, supervisor of both Lawrence restaurants, 901 W. 23rd and 1309 W. Sixth, said McDonald's is trying to clear up misconceptions about its practices. It has informational fliers outlining McDonalds' policy on South American rainforests, landfills and other environmental issues.
If you're into recycling, then you need someplace to put the goods. Enter Storage Solutions. Owner Glenn Marks says his company, 937 Mass., offers custom, multistorage units for recycled products. Two basic designs, a basket system and a metal frame system can be purchased for people who want a more aesthetically pleasing recycling center rather than "a bunch of garbage cans" for paper, aluminum cans or glass. "The containers we sell can be customized for an office or home," Marks said. The containers, which come in various sizes, are durable, easily cleaned and can simplify the task of recycling, he said.
This new business at 622 W. 12th, offers organically grown produce and biodegradable health and beauty products. Store manager Kristii Adrian says organic soups and dry food also are available. Organic, she says, means the food generally is not grown or processed with chemicals. "There are different certifications for what `organic' means," she said. "Generally, in order to be certified as an organic grower, the ground must be free of chemicals for three years," she said. The store's organic produce now comes from Colorado. However, Adrian said the business will offer locally grown organic products when available.
Most of the rattan, wicker and rubberwood in Pier 1 furniture is produced from company-owned tree farms, said Jennifer Rinehart, assistant manager. "The company wants to let people know that it doesn't get any of its wood from the rainforests," she said. "They use their own wood in the furniture." Rinehart also said Pier 1, 738 Mass., offers mesh shopping bags for customers. The business also recycles or reuses many of its cardboard boxes. "We try to do what we can," she said.
All glass, plastic and paper has been recycled for more than a year at Cornucopia, 1801 Mass., and at Tin Pan Alley restaurant, 1105 Mass., both of which are owned by Glen Sohl and Terri Hieronymus-Sohl, according to Eric Lowcock, manager of Cornucopia. In addition, both restaurants use recyclable, to-go containers for food, he said.
Jeff Stewart, a co-owner of Pywacket's, a downtown bistro and bookstore, said that business recycles glass and aluminum beverage containers.
Stewart also said Pywacket's, 10 E. Ninth, has stopped using paper and plastic plates and utensils.
He said Pywacket's chooses to recycle because "Everyone's doing their part these days."
Jazzhaus customers who order mixed drinks are given glasses, not plastic cups, said Rick McNeely, owner of the downtown club. And the club, 926 Mass., does not serve beer in aluminum cans.
"We have returnable bottles whenever we can," McNeely said.
John Hillstrom, manager of the local store at 904 Vt., said Kinko's stores across the nation recycle paper.
"Kinko's is very big into recycling, for lack of a better phrase," Hillstrom said.
He said scrap paper and extra photocopies are recycled, and he said Kinko's also stocks recycled paper in its self-service machines.
Sam Alli, assistant manager of Wal-Mart, said the store collects aluminum cans and donates the cans to local organizations for fund-raising. Alli said Wal-Mart bails cardboard, which is sold to Recycle America, a Wichita-based company.
Alli said old, broken fixtures in the store also are given to a company that refurbishes the fixtures.
"That way they're not going to the landfill," Alli said.
Terry York, store manager at K mart, said owners of smaller Lawrence businesses often bring their cardboard to K mart so it can be recycled.
It, like Wal-Mart, bails cardboard for recycling.
"We've had some of the outlet stores do that, which is good," York said.