Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Green Extreme

Although many local catering companies are starting to move towards some basic green practices such as recycling and reducing their use of non-renewable resources, none that we know of have taken being green to the extreme that Main Event has.

So much so that we have won just about every green award available to small businesses around the area including:

2009 Winner AWE EcoLeadership Award – Alliance for Workplace Excellence

2008 Arlington Best Green Business Award – Arlington Economic Development Committee

2008 SAVR Award Gold Medal Winner – Save Arlington’s Valuable Resources

2008 Fresh AIRE Business Champion – Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions

In addition, we submitted an entry to the annual Catering Magazine Caterer of the Year competition based upon our sustainable business practices and won! Here is the announcement we have made to our clients and business associates:

♦ Main Event Caterers is proud to announce that we have been awarded the prestigious Caterer of the Year Award from Catering Magazine Our company will be featured in a spotlight article in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue, which can be viewed at (pages 20-24).

♦ This is an annual competition open to over 30,000 caterers across the nation with extensive submission requirements. Not only do all entrants need to document their goals, challenges and accomplishments, they also need to show a history of consistent growth and longevity in the marketplace.

♦ While most entrants concentrated on a specific challenging event, Main Event chose to highlight our efforts at creating a sustainable business model. Our current efforts of purchasing wind power and carbon offsets, recycling, composting, zero-waste kitchen, and bio-diesel fuel contributions coupled with our future plans of a geothermal heat transfer system, rainwater reclamation project and in-house (actually on-house) mainstay crop production garnered the attention of the judges and ultimately the top prize.

In summary, we offer our clients the peace of mind knowing that they are working with a company that is not just looking out for the bottom line but also for the environment.

  • Here is a full list of our eco-initiatives:
  • Wind Power - we offset 100% of the electricity we use by purchasing an equal amount of energy from a wind farm. This energy is then in turn funneled to the grid to reduce our reliance on non-sustainable energy sources.
  • Carbon Neutrality - We purchase carbon offsets to not only compensate for 100% of the fuel used in our delivery vehicles but also that of our employees for their daily commute.
  • Recycling - We recycle approximately 95% of all glass, plastic, metal, cardboard & office paper both at our in-house operation as well as our offsite events. By doing this we have reduced our landfill contribution by 70%.
  • Composting - To eliminate the use of plastics we are using newly available disposable products such as glassware made from corn by-products, cutlery made from balsa wood, and dinnerware made from palm fronds. All are 100% compostable and designed to biodegrade in just a few months thus eliminating a product that would ordinarily be recycled and replacing it with a product that, over a short period of time, turns back into a rich, reusable resource.
  • Zero Waste Kitchen - We collect food matter that would ordinarily go into the garbage and compost it for eventual use as high quality soil, which we freely distribute to our clients and community. This not only reduces our landfill contribution but also supports our community gardens.
  • Bio Diesel Fuel - We donate all of our cooking oil to a bio diesel coop, which in turn provides us with fuel to use in our delivery vehicles reducing our need for fossil fuels.
  • Solar Power - By installing sunlight concentrators on our rooftop we channel sunlight into our offices and warehouse to create a more natural atmosphere and diminish our dependency on electricity. We have also partnered with a web hosting company that is powered by solar panels and uses Opteron powered IBM servers that use 60% less energy and generate 50% less heat.
  • Geothermal Heat Transfer - Most recently we have entered into a partnership with a company to engineer a system to reclaim wasted heat from our dishwasher, laundry machines, refrigeration units, etc. to be used as a heat source for many in-house applications thus reducing our reliance on outside energy sources.
  • Rainwater Reclamation - For one of our newest project we are in the process of manufacturing a system to reclaim rainwater for use in our facility. Based upon initial calculations we should be able to reclaim over 400,000 gallons of water per year.
  • Mainstay Crop Production - Still in the planning stages, we are designing a rooftop garden wherein we can produce certain mainstay crops such as tomatoes, onions & herbs. We would also be able to offer our clients the ability to plant and harvest produce specifically for their event.

Ideas for the Bride and Groom….

Last year our chef became very interested in raw foods. These are vegetarian menu items that are produced without cooking, thus reducing our energy usage. Our most popular raw item is a raw lasagna. I won't give away the secret recipe but will tell you that instead of ricotta cheese we puree pine nuts and pistachios to make a rich, enticing layer of this delectable dish. This is a huge hit with all of our clients, green or otherwise!

If this is the first step someone is taking to becoming more eco-friendly it can be a daunting experience. The first thing I would suggest is to look for green vendors, and question them to make sure they are not just saying they're green because they recycle but that they actually have other green practices in effect.

Next I would suggest that they purchase carbon offset credits for their wedding guests. There are many sites where they can easily do this and it is very reasonably priced. I would suggest as they

have a very user friendly wedding calculator, which can be found at the following link.

Photo: owners Joel Thevoz and Nancy Goodman. The substance you see in Joel's hands is some of our Black Gold compost created on premise.

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