BarFly Ventures goes green
Just in time for Earth Day, BarFly Ventures, the owner of HopCat, Stella’s, The Viceroy, McFadden’s, and the soon-to-open Grand Rapids Brewing Co., has launched a recycling program expected to reduce the amount of landfill waste the downtown establishments generate by up to 85 percent.
The program was rolled out at all BarFly restaurants and bars April 18 after months of planning and research of best practices. Studying the methods of various smaller establishments throughout the region, BarFly’s management developed and implemented the program on a much larger scale. The initiative allows most of BarFly’s waste to end up in composting and recycling bins throughout their facilities, rather than going to a landfill. A comprehensive training program for BarFly’s more than 150 employees is helping to ensure that as much waste as possible will end up avoiding the landfill.
“Our staff is excited to be a part of this program because we all know it will have a greatly reduced impact on the environment,” said Garry Boyd, who manages the day-to-day operations of the BarFly properties. “We hope this will help spur other local establishments, both large and small, to start recycling and composting.”
In addition to the recycling program, BarFly will be switching all of its businesses over to LED light bulbs within the next month, reducing electricity usage by up to 90% compared with traditional bulbs. This requires retrofitting existing light fixtures, ordering custom-sized LED bulbs, and programming the color of the new LED bulbs using a special computer program. Though it will require a large initial investment, the high-tech lighting is expected to pay for itself over time through reduced energy costs and less time spent replacing bulbs.
“These programs are part of our efforts to continually improve our businesses, reduce our environmental impact, and make our community a better place to live,“ said BarFly owners Mark and Michele Sellers.
These new measures are in addition to other waste reduction and sustainability efforts by BarFly. For example, for several years, spent grain from the brewing process at HopCat has been given to local farmers who use it for feed. Bakers at local businesses such as Nantucket Bakery and The Winchester also use it to make bread. BarFly’s fryer oil is recycled by Urban Bio-Energy. “Our community – including public schools, individuals, and businesses – is really moving in the right direction when it comes to participation in recycling programs,” said James Hurt, public services director for the city. “With BarFly’s new initiative, they have become a leader in this area and are setting an example that we want our community to emulate.”