Kayla Byler / Lantern photographer
Earth Day is Friday, and local businesses and campus buildings are making efforts to become more environmentally friendly.
Chipotle, the Blackwell Inn and the Ohio Union are just a few of the businesses or buildings that are practicing sustainable living efforts.
The Chipotle located at 1726 N. High St., will have a “picnic for the planet,” on the Oval from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, said Katie Kelso, the local store marketing coordinator for Chipotle. It will give out free tacos and burritos to students.
“Chipotle, at a national level, partnered with The Nature Conservancy Organization and we are sponsoring these events around the country mostly on college campuses,” Kelso said.
This is not the only way Chipotle supports sustainable living.
“We are working towards providing 100 percent grass-fed beef and naturally raised meats. It’s important to us because there are a lot of things that happen to the earth that come out of raising animals improperly,” Kelso said.
Chipotle takes sustainability beyond its food.
“In the last five to 10 years we have been working on making our buildings more sustainable,” Kelso said. “The majority of our restaurant can be recycled in some way if for some reason we needed to close the building or remodel.”
The Blackwell Inn, near the Fisher College of Business, has also made strides to improve sustainability.
“We first started with our housekeeping department about three years ago … and started a recycling program three years ago, but we have really amped it up in the last year,” said Lori Pratt, the food and beverage director at the Blackwell Inn.
The guests have been given the option of reusing towels and sheets during their stay rather than washing them every day, Pratt said.
The Blackwell Inn is now taking these efforts one step further.
“I’ve been working with the university to get a composting program going,” Pratt said.
Composting is the practice of taking organic materials, like food waste, adding wood chips and recycling it into a mulch-like soil, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
“Our goal at the hotel is to reduce our waste by 60 percent. We should be able to do that,” Pratt said.
The Ohio Union also incorporates daily eco-friendly practices.
“OSU, in general, has a green building policy, so the university is very much a proponent of being environmentally responsible in all aspects of the university,” said Kai Landis, the program manager for energy management and sustainability at the Union.
The Union has virtual bulletin boards to reduce paper waste and does not have trays or plastic bags in its dining facilities, Landis said.
“This saves tens of thousands of bags and has saved the university money in the process,” Landis said. “Going trayless has reduced the food waste by 70 percent because people put less on their plate and it reduces water use because we don’t have to clean the trays.”
Landis could not give an estimate of the money saved from the Union’s sustainability efforts.
The Union also practices many other sustainable living efforts, such as getting 20 percent of its food from local businesses, giving discounts to people who bring in reusable coffee cups and having multiple recycling bins, Landis said.
With landfills filling up beyond capacity, talk of holes in the Ozone layer and the possibility of global warming, these businesses and buildings lead by example.
“Really if people just educate themselves and get information, it’s not that hard to do,” Pratt said. “It’s as easy to throw something in the recycling bin as it is in the garbage can.”