Sustainability- Interpretation of a Gen-Y’er: Sustainability in practice

I am the type of person who learns more via experiences and ‘doing stuff,’ than sitting at a computer staring at a black and white screen, and constantly looking out the library window at the blazing sun counting down the assignments and exams until the summer holidays, when I am finally able to get rid of this long-acquired library-tan.
Aside from the whinging, and feeling sorry for myself, what I am trying to get across is the fact that by experiencing the changes first hand through my current place of employment, transforming it into a sustainable business, has allowed me to become aware of just how important, and easy to do it is.
The first seeds of this transformation were planted into the business by a regional tourism venture that made our boss aware of the importance of employing sustainable practices, and how it would contribute to the wider tourism bracket, which our business, being of hospitality, fell under. An incentive was given that, if we were to incorporate sustainable methods, the group would promote our business upon their website for free- for an organisation with a virtually non-existence budget for marketing was a big opportunity.
The first transformation was incorporating recycle bins, provided by the regional council, which sorted our wastage into recyclable goods. This included separating coloured glass bottles and plastics which can be melted down and re-used.
Shortly after saw a local printing company offering to collect our waste paper, which could be used to produce new printable paper used for regional newspapers and other businesses. It didn’t take long for our boss to start purchasing quality recycled cartridge from them, which is now used within the pages of our menus. While this was only a small change, it supports recycling and re-use of waste resources, and decreasing the need for diminishing our natural resources such as tress, and congestion in landfills.
Aware of the organisations attempts to reduce waste, a local farmer offered to provide large buckets to collect food waste to feed to his pigs and chickens, which he picks up twice a week. Not only does this save him money on food for his animals, but also saves the organisation money in waste. Over the past year he has started collecting our used fryer oil, which he and his wife recycle into fuel to run their tractors and quads.
During the recent recession, the need became apparent of supporting local businesses to ensure their survival. For this reason the organisation made alterations in their supply chain, sourcing many of their ingredients used in their menu items as locally as possible. Not only did this garner community respect, but enhanced the morality and respect for the business as it was putting money back, and supporting the local community. Although many of these ingredients are more costly than those sourced from a mass producer, due to the publicity and increased customer turnover from the tourism website, it meant the organisation could continue to afford the difference.
Increased customer turnover over the past 4 years saw a need to renovate the premises to accommodate. This included expanding the outside deck to provide more space for extra seating, which saw the organisations director research and source wood required for the deck from a ‘sustainable forest,’ which would see trees replanted on existing forest land to be used, removing the need for new forest to be cut down. Once again, this once again exhibits the businesses view on the importance of sustainability.
The magnificent surrounding environment of the premises sees trees which have grown undisturbed for years. Included in these are native Pohutakawa within the confines of the premises boundary. The business director acknowledges the protection of these trees by placing signs explaining of the significance of these trees to both the premises and environment and encourages people to protect them and not to climb on, or harm them in any way.
Collection boxes are also in place upon the counter, which staff encourage tips to be placed in. The money collected goes toward the regional tourism company, and their efforts to preserve and educate, while showcasing, the picturesque environment to tourists and visitors, both present and future.

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