FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2014
DEP RECOGNIZES TWO KEY WEST
BUSINESSES FOR OUTSTANDING RECYCLING EFFORTS
~DEP welcomes the first restaurant and bar to qualify
for the Recycling Recognition Program~
Richard Hatch and Suanne Kitchar, owners of Blue Heaven; Jon Iglehart, director of DEP's South District; Edward O. Russell, Jr., DEP environmental consultant; Green Parrot
owner John Vagnoni and Green Parrot manager Jim Fossum.
KEY WEST – The Florida Department of
Environmental Protection recognized The Green Parrot bar and Blue Heaven restaurant
today for their superior recycling efforts. In 2013, these Florida-based
businesses each achieved a recycling rate of 59 percent. DEP's South District Director Jon Iglehart joined the business owners and local officials to honor the companies at a press conference today at Old City Hall in Key West.
Heaven and The Green Parrot are great examples of how businesses can make a
positive impact on Florida’s environment,” said Iglehart. “Businesses can benefit financially from investing in recycling
and that investment benefits Florida environmentally by keeping recyclable materials
out of landfills.”
The Green Parrot recycles a great deal of aluminum cans and bottles. Bar management decided a few years ago to offer mostly draught beer options in glassware rather than plastic to reduce waste. The Green Parrot also chose aluminum cans over bottles where possible. Aluminum is often times easier to recycle than glass due to weight and reuse options. Additionally, the bar has recycle bins behind the bar, making it easy for bartenders to recycle, and signage near recycle bins for customer use.
The Green Parrot Co-owner John Vagnoni said, "We would like to
thank the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the city of Key
West for shining a light on our recycling efforts. It makes all our efforts even more worthwhile to
know we were on someone's radar. Recognizing that
the responsibility as a business to recycle is no different than the
responsibility as a citizen, we made a
business decision to do our share to keep plastic, aluminum and cardboard out
of landfills and allow them to be put back into the manufacturing supply
Blue Heaven provides recycle bins for waitstaff to deposit bottles and cans in once tables have been cleared. All cardboard from food deliveries is flattened and recycled appropriately. Kitchen staff also make a point to recycle any plastic containers they no longer need. It is challenging for restaurants to achieve high recycling rates, as disposal of food scraps tends to outweigh other more traditionally recyclable materials. Blue Heaven reserves all meat and fish from finished meals and provides it to their resident cats.
"We are very happy to be recognized
today but believe there is always room for improvement. Recycling is good
for the planet and a smart business move," said Blue Heaven Co-owner Richard Hatch.
The department recently released the 2013
municipal solid waste annual report, which reported Florida’s statewide recycling
rate is 49 percent. In 2008, the Florida Legislature established a new
statewide recycling goal of 75 percent to be achieved by 2020.
The two Key West
businesses are located in Monroe County, which ranks ninth in the state for
total recycling in 2013, at 56 percent. With recycling rates 14 percent
higher than the average commercial recycling rate for the state, the Green
Parrot and Blue Heaven are excellent examples for other Florida
recycling is a top priority for the city of Key West, but we can’t reach our goals without both
residential and commercial sector involvement,” said Will Thompson, Key West solid waste coordinator. “Businesses generate 61 percent
of our overall waste stream, so it is critical that they be involved in
recycling. The example set by both the Green Parrot and Blue Heaven shows that
not only is commercial recycling in high-volume environments possible, but it’s
also profitable by greatly reducing trash disposal costs.”
Commercial municipal solid
waste accounts for approximately 55 percent of the total municipal solid waste
stream in Florida. In order for Florida to reach its 75-percent goal, the department
is urging all sectors, especially the commercial sector, to actively increase
its recycling efforts. According to the 2013 data, less than half of commercial
waste is being recycled. It is crucial that businesses, schools and other
commercial recyclers increase their recycling efforts. Recycling provides a direct
cost savings to most businesses because the more that is recycled, the less waste that is
generated and the lower the waste management operating costs. Reuse of materials can also
represent a cost savings.
department has an easy tool for companies to track their recycling efforts
- the Florida
DEP Business Recycling Tracking Tool. Through the website, which
includes free registration, companies can track different types of recycling
efforts and produce reports on how those efforts are helping to shrink their
carbon footprint. The tracking will help the department to recognize companies
that are doing more to go green. For more information about the Recycling
Recognition Program click HERE.