Every Day is Earth Day for Wineguys Restaurants
PETOSKEY, MICHIGAN: Earth Day is celebrated worldwide on April 22. The idea for this day at its inception in 1970 was to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Now, over 50 years later, nearly 200 countries participate each year. For Petoskey’s Roast & Toast, Earth Day is a fitting time to celebrate its everyday commitment to environmentally friendly practices and a lighter carbon footprint.
Evolution of the To Go Cup
In 2020 and 2021, Roast & Toast implemented its new to-go containers—new Roast & Toast custom designed, post-consumer paper coffee cups, plus new post-consumer paper boxes and soup containers—all fully recyclable and completely Styrofoam free. “We selected our original to-go cups over 25 years ago due to their ability to maintain the flavor of our coffee,” explains Mary Keedy, of Roast & Toast and parent company Wineguys Restaurant Group, which also owns Petoskey’s City Park Grill, Palette Bistro and Wineguys Catering. With the introduction of newer post-consumer containers, Roast & Toast found that it was ready to make the change. “Many don’t realize that Styrofoam is recyclable in some areas, though we wanted something that had greater recyclable properties and acceptability, while retaining heat and maintaining coffee quality,” adds Keedy.
“Shifting to a recyclable poly-coated paper cup over the last year is definitely worth noting,” shares Lindsey Walker, Market Development of Commercial Accounts at Emmet County Recycling. “We are encouraging all local businesses to move away from single use plastics. Recycled poly-coated paper cups, like those used at Roast & Toast, are being sorted and shipped to Great Lakes Tissue in Cheboygan to be made into toilet tissue right here in northern Michigan! This is a true example of the circular economy of recycling. And every bit makes a difference,” she adds.
“We planned our business model to co-exist with our environmental commitment. With our extensive take-out business, we want to do whatever we can to accommodate our patrons while having minimal environmental impact,” Keedy explains.
What Goes Around, Comes Around
Besides recyclable take-out containers, in-house recycling takes place at all Wineguys Restaurant Group locations. With bins for paper, cardboard, bags and mixed containers, each restaurant works diligently to decrease its environmental footprint. On average, it is estimated that City Park Grill diverts over 38,000 gallons of recycling annually—that’s 190 cubic yards! From 2015 to 2019, Roast & Toast recycled roughly 40,000 gallons (200 cubic yards) annually. And, Palette Bistro recycles nearly 23,000 gallons annually (112 cubic yards).
Other initiatives involve the adoption of best practices within the restaurants. For example, Palette Bistro switched from plastic to paper straws in 2019, diverting over 25,000 plastic straws from landfills. And, City Park Grill coordinates cooking oil recycling “Even during the past year with the COVID-19 restrictions, we continued to maintain our focused recycling efforts,” shares Roast & Toast general manager and partner Ben Walker. “In fact, the shut-down gave us the time to review our procedures and refine our efforts.”
Putting Food Waste in its Place
Since 2015,Wineguys Restaurant Group has coordinated with the Emmet County Recycling food scrap collection program. From 2015 – 2020, Roast & Toast produced nearly 120,000 pounds of compost for the community—that’s over 40,000 gallons! Over a five-year period, City Park Grill diverted over 90,000 pounds of food scrap from landfills, while Palette Bistro averages nearly 13,000 pounds annually.
The food scraps are turned into Emmet County’s Homegrown Compost, highly valued for garden beds, hoop houses, container gardening, landscaping, trees, bushes and lawn re-seeding. Significantly, “Wineguys restaurants use Homegrown Compost for outdoor planters on the Roast & Toast deck,” Ben Walker explains, and City Park Grill outdoor flowerpots and Palette Bistro landscaping benefit from the compost as well. “Everything that we can do to reduce waste and increase recycling aids our environmental commitment and emphasizes our business model,” he adds.
For more information about Petoskey’s City Park Grill, Palette Bistro, Roast & Toast and Wineguys Catering, visit wineguysgroup.com or call 231.347.0101. Those interested in Emmet County Homegrown Compost should contact Emmet County Recycling at 231.348.0640 for current pick-up options.
Data Source: Emmet County Recycling