2018: The Year in Sustainability at BarFly & HopCat
BarFly Ventures — parent company of the HopCat family, Stella’s Lounge, Grand Rapids Brewing Co. and the Waldron Public House — in 2018 was able to expand its industry-leading sustainability program across its five pillars: Community, Soil & Food, Water, Energy and Resource Recycling. Here’s a snapshot of some of our efforts in each of these categories:
- We donated more than $85,000 to local nonprofits and charities in the communities we serve that are doing important work in the areas of equality, conservation, water safety, housing solutions, health/wellness, animal welfare, community initiatives, food accessibility, kids’ engagement & veterans’ services.
- Each BarFly location has a GROW (Green, Responsible, Outreach, Wellbeing) Team that works toward the betterment of the environment, their community, and themselves. Our teams worked hard this year to help build a house through Habitat for Humanity; pick up trash & recycling around their neighborhoods & beaches; took a chilly polar plunge to raise money for the Special Olympics; ran in 5-Ks to raise money for local NPOs; brought knowledge back to their teammates by touring our compost facilities and much more!
SOIL & FOOD
- We raised more than $20,000 for grassroots soil & food-centric nonprofits on Earth Day.
- Our restaurants partnered with nonprofit organizations working to sequester carbon; create oxygen; clean up vacant lots; remedy contaminated soils; capture rain water; plant trees, fruits, vegetables & native plants; support wildlife & local pollinators; and grow healthy, organic, accessible produce.
- Our teams turned more than 1,300 tons of food waste, napkins, paper towels, and straws into healthy soil through composting.
- Food waste is 40% of what we landfill & incinerate in the U.S. That's why at BarFly, we compost almost all of our pre- & post-consumer food waste — not just uneaten scraps, but also materials such as napkins, paper towels from guest restrooms and straws. By turning our food scraps back into soil through the composting process, we can do our part to return these nutrients to the soil so we can continue to grow healthy food!
- BarFly, HopCat, Stella’s, GRBC & Waldron are founding members of the Great Lakes Business Network which works to protect the Great Lakes from environmental threats.
- We remained a leading voice in the ongoing effort to Shut Down Line 5, a 67-year old twin oil & gas pipeline that runs underwater through the Straits of Mackinac, posing a serious contamination risk to a basin that contains 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater supply.
- Through specialty beer releases, sponsorships and our partnership with FeelGood Tap, we donated more than $11,000 to clean water nonprofits.
- BarFly participates in Michigan’s Battle of the Buildings competition to lower the carbon footprints of industrial and commercial spaces throughout the state.
- We are a founding member of the US Green Building Council's Grand Rapids 2030 District.
- We track all energy data to identify waste and improve efficiency.
- In 2018, we kept 38,000 cubic yards or 2,700 tons of recycling and food waste out of landfills & incinerators - about 90 percent of all waste we generate. That’s the weight of 18 blue whales!
- When we put unwanted items in landfills, they are buried and unable to be reused or recovered. Organic items like food scraps give off methane when they break down in landfills, which contributes to climate change. We lose the ability to recover the nutrients in these foods by putting them back into our soil. When we landfill items that can be recycled; like glass, metal, plastic, and paper, we end its chance to be reused and we perpetuate the need for more single-use items to be manufactured. For these reasons, we landfill and incinerate as little as possible!
- BarFly restaurants participate in the #SheddTheStraw campaign: We only give straws to our guests who request them, and the straws we do use are made from compostable material.