By Lane Landrith, City of Boulder Downtown & University Hill Management Division/Parking Services
The Greening the Hill Partnership currently boasts nine certified environmentally friendly businesses: Burnt Toast Restaurant, Cheba Hut Toasted Subs, Off Campus Cuts, The Onion, Shipping on the Hill, The Sink, Snarf’s Sub Shop, Abo’s Pizza, and The Sink Dry Goods store.
Each of the businesses, all located on the University Hill, has voluntarily taken measures to move toward a zero-waste model and, through the partnership, is recognized on fifteen banners now displayed atop area street-light poles. These colorful banners are an artistic reminder of the positive environmental and financial return on investment that comes from operating within a zero waste model. Sponsors for the design and production of these banners include the City of Boulder’s ClimateSmart program, Boulder County Partners for A Clean Environment (PACE), and Boulder Parking Services.
“A zero-waste model is key in any business. We look at this as a way of uniting people on the Hill and gathering everybody for the same cause” stated Matt Clark-Johnson, co-owner of Cheba Hut, a founding member of the City’s Greening the Hill Partnership.
To qualify for the partnership, businesses must meet 21 requirements on the group’s checklist, which is divided into three main sections: waste reduction, energy and resource conservation, and pollution prevention. The list also features another 27 elective measures meant to maximize environmental effectiveness. The required measures include the composting of all organic material, replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and replacing all existing toilets with models that use 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less.
“The goal is not to focus on any single Hill business, but really focus our efforts to bring together all Hill businesses to create the first Zero Waste business district. We want to make the Hill a destination again,” says Brain Carp, general manager of the Fox Theatre.
Those currently involved with the Greening the Hill Partnership said they hope their efforts will ultimately establish the University Hill as a zero-waste business district, perhaps one of the nation’s first.
“This has been a project that I personally have been working on since July of 2007,” said Bill Shrum, manager of Shipping on the Hill, who helped spearhead efforts with Clark-Johnson. “I’m really proud that there is so much momentum behind it from our initial meeting of only four people one afternoon at Buchanan’s.”