This past Wednesday “Greener Taste of Greater Durham” took place in the Mub Granite State Room. Local businesses and student organizations participated in the event, the focus of which was to get the word out about sustainable initiatives and incentives to buy local. I spoke with a representative of The Green Launching Pad, the organization that hosted the event, in order to get a feel for the motivations behind it. The idea was that it would make the general student population aware of the various green projects in the area. If the advertisements around campus weren’t enough, the free food definitely drew students through the door.
The food vendors at “Greener Taste of Greater Durham” included Young’s, The Bagelry, Mama Mac’s, Divine Burger of Portsmouth, Gnarly Nola, andDurham Market Place. I was particularly impressed by, and previously unaware of, the efforts of Young’s, which is certified as an Environmental Champion by the NH Sustainable Lodging & Restaurant Program. In terms of energy, they purchase 100% green, non-carbon, renewable electricity, have efficient lighting and equipment, and use natural gas. In terms of water, they use efficient toilets and high efficiency spray nozzles and dishwashers. Young’s both recycles and uses recycled products, and supports local sustainable businesses and suppliers.
Another intriguing display at “Greener Taste of Greater Durham” was Local Grub, a virtual farmers market. The idea behind this business is that organic local food could be ordered online and delivered to your door. It would support local farmers and the local economy, and is much more convenient than locating farmers markets. Local Grub is not yet up and running, since creating a client base and the logistics of delivery are difficult to establish, but with support it would be an innovative and habit-changing initiative.
Student Organizations at the event included the Organic Garden Club, Slow Food, representatives of Trash to Treasure, UNHCAN, and Net Impact, All of the groups have their specific focuses, but in one way or another they are all dedicated to energy efficiency or sustainable practices. Members of the Carsey Institute also presented at the event, providing an opportunity for students to learn about internship possibilities
In addition to student organizations and food vendors, there were a number of businesses who focus on sustainable practices in infrastructure and buildings. One such business is Recycled Asphalt Shingle Technology. RAS-Tech works to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable materials that end up in landfills from the disposal of shingles. They do this by changing the composition of the shingles. RAS-Tech also attempts to recover the petroleum from asphalt shingle waste. This is a very unique project, andRAS-Tech is the only company in the country with this focus.
Upon speaking with students who attended the event, it became clear that many were surprised by the sheer number of entities dedicated to sustainability. It was a privilege to see all of them congregated in one place, and hopefully as a result there will be an increased awareness among the general student population of the relevance of sustainability. It often seems as if there is a duplication of efforts, but this event made it feel more like a united network working towards a single goal.
Written by Megan.