If it isn't easy being green then it
definitely isn't easy becoming green either. That is the lesson Jennifer Stark
and Maureen McNamara are learning while making their Amici's Pizza store and
adjacent Living Room lounge in Berkley
as environmentally friendly as possible.
"It's all a learning curve for
us," Stark says. "We're doing everything we can."
Take recycling for instance. The business, 3249 W 12 Mile Road,
produces a large amount of waste that was regularly carted off in a garbage
truck to a landfill. Stark and McNamara, both environmentally
conscious people, decided they could at least change that and start recycling
some of their refuse.
"We use a lot of disposable products
here," Stark says. "The amount of garbage we produce is
The problem was they soon discovered that
they could recycle a lot of it. Almost half, actually. However, the city only
gave them the normal residential recycling containers to use, which were way
too small. After complaints from neighbors and some finagling they got a couple
of 95-gallon bins to handle their recycling.
They also took pains and a little expense
to make what they did throw away more environmentally friendly. For instance,
items like plates and cups are 100-percent biodegradable, which makes them more
eco-friendly than washing permanent plates when you count the energy and
chemicals used to clean them. The knives and forks are even made of Tater Ware, a natural
"They will decompose in a landfill in
two weeks," Stark says. "They're actually stronger and more pliable
They just started using biodegradable
take-out containers made of corn and are looking into biodegradable
But their green credentials go beyond
managing waste. The store uses simple fixes such as energy efficient light
bulbs and more expensive ones like high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.
It's paying off in more ways than one. Not
only is the business reaping lower energy bills but it is also experiencing
more than its share of good press and public goodwill because of its eco-conscious
"Customers appreciate what we're
doing," Starks says. "People come out here and do business because
they heard about what we're doing.
Source: Jennifer Stark, co-owner of Amici's
Writer: Jon Zemke