Nonprofit working with Carson restaurants to create ‘green dining district’
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Carson Street restaurants now can get help with their new year’s resolution to go green.
GreenUp, a Northern Nevada nonprofit, is working to recruit restaurants located along Carson City’s main street between Stewart Street and Winnie Lane that are interested in reducing waste and operating in a more environmentally-friendly way.
“The average restaurant produces 100,000 pounds of garbage a year. Ninety-five percent of that could be composted or recycled,” said Donna Walden, president, GreenUp board.
GreenUp is working to create the “green dining district” thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection’s waste management division.
GreenUp plans to spend the first quarter of 2019 working with each restaurant taking part in the program to first assess its waste amount and management practices.
“We’ll take a baseline measure. How much are you recycling every week? How much food waste goes into the garbage bin every week?” said Walden.
In terms of food waste, Walden said GreenUp will look at purchasing practices to see if an eatery is buying the optimum amount of food as well whether food eligible to be donated to food banks or other charitable groups is being passed along, or used for animals or industrial uses. And there’s recycling, including cooking oil, and composting.
“The last thing you want to do is just throw it in the landfill,” said Walden.
GreenUp also will be encouraging restaurants to eliminate or reduce plastic straws and styrofoam containers. Plastic, said Walden, never fully decomposes, and there are biodegradable alternatives to replace styrofoam for take-out items.
“But we’re not forbidding anything. We know the general public likes straws,” she said.
GreenUp will provide training seminars, resources and a “green team” including some local individuals to support the restaurants’ work to reduce waste.
The assistance is free of charge. Walden said each restaurant should chose a green champion to act as a liaison to GreenUp and take charge of its efforts.
Walden said the end result is good for business, not just the environment.
“The less you waste the more money you make so it does affect the bottom line,” she said.
Per the agreement, Caesars will continue to operate Harrah’s for the first half of 2020 before it’s redeveloped into a non-gaming hotel and mixed-use development.