A Green State (& Allen)

Uptown Restaurant GM Is Out To Save The Planet, As Much As Possible

When Angela Birt signed on as general manager for State & Allen Lounge, she saw waste everywhere.

Not extraordinary amounts of it, mind you--just the usual run on materials every restaurant goes through. "We use so much as an industry," she says. So with the full support of ownership, Birt began loading up the company van, hauling recyclables to whoever would take them.

"It started from there and we went crazy with it," she explains.

Crazy enough to have recycled 24 tons of paper, plastics, glass and even cooking oil over the past six months--enough to earn an award from the city.

On the impulse to 'go green'...
When I cam on and saw how much we were wasting, I started looking into it. I thought it would be easy. I was really difficult at first. But now that we've started, it is easy--relatively easy.

On the cost of recycling...
Everything we have for to-go orders is biodegradable. I could get a lifetime of styrofoam cups for the cost of one sleeve of biodegradable cups. We're just saving the earth, not money.

On the support of those who hope to make money from their restaurant...
It costs money. I'm aware how lucky I am that the owners have allowed me to do this--and we're doing everything we can.

Everything includes sending compost items from the kitchen to a community garden, installing low-flow devices on the toilets and encouraging regulars (with the offer of free coffee) to bring their own mugs.

The restaurant's landlord, Post Properties, has a contractor that picks up paper, plastic and the usual recyclables. RTI takes their used cooking oil, turning some of it into fuel. That's how a place returns 24 tons of usable material...and earns the 2008 Mayor's Environmental Excellence Award.

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