(Crystal A. Proxmire, 2/21/2011)
(above photo taken at Dino’s Lounge, 22740 Woodward)
Ferndale has proven to be a strong consumer of environmentally-conscious products, according to local food service products business Michigan Green Safe Products. General Manager Matt Naimi, says that Ferndale is one of the best places to do business in, with Royal Oak, Ann Arbor and Midtown in Detroit also providing them with a good base of customers.
While the company is based in Detroit, Michigan Green Safe’s presence can be seen throughout Ferndale as more and more restaurants switch to using “green” disposables for their carry-out items. Green Safe offers spoons, forks and knives made with plant proteins, carry-out boxes made of sugar cane, cups made out of corn starch and other earth-friendly items. Each product has a life cycle of one year or less – from growth and production, to consumption, to break down in a landfill or compost bin.
The Emory, WAB (Woodward Ave. Brewers) and Loving Touch have been using Green Safe Products for over two years. “We go through a large quantity of to-go boxes, so it is an expense. We could use Styrofoam, but it’s just not worth the damage to the planet,” said Emory Manager Emily Husband. The three sister restaurants operate with a contentious mentality, in terms of the products they use and the waste they create. Their delivery vehicle and one of the owners’ vehicles run on biofuel that is recycled from their used French-fry grease. They also use recycled napkins and green cleaning products when possible.
“Before we started with Green Safe, we went through another company that was always changing its product lines and prices,” Husband said. “Green Safe always has our products in stock, and it’s a good feeling when you can call and talk to the President of the company when you need to.”
Green Safe grew out of Recycle Here, a company that handles recycling in the City of Detroit since 2005. They are the largest recycler of Stryofoam in the region, and they have used their success in the recycling industry to springboard Michigan Green Safe.
“A lot of people have jumped on the Green bandwagon in the past few years,” Naimi said. “But Steve [Steve Harworth, President of Green Safe] and I started out together in the dumpster business ten years ago. And in that business the less stuff that goes to the landfill, the more money in your pocket. We’re always thinking of ways to recycle and reuse. And now we give businesses the chance to have less waste.”
“One of the things that got us started thinking about biodegradable products was the difficulty in creating recycling products for big events and festivals,” Naimi said. “We’ve worked with Motor City Pride in the past, and they wanted recycling. But that is hard to do in a festival setting where people are throwing food and beer into bins along with the plastics. Biodegradable products mean that isn’t an issue. Whether it ends up in the regular garbage or getting recycled into compost, it is still not going to harm the environment.”
The company is on the verge of offering a new service to the restaurants it services. “Within the next few months we will be able to pick up their used Green Safe products and take them back to our facility to be used in compost,” he said. “The businesses don’t even know about this service yet, but we think it will catch on.”
Howe’s Bayou has been using Michigan Green Safe products for almost a year after being referred to them by Husband. “Their service is great,” said Howe’s owner Michael Hennes. “Over the years we tried getting different things, but we had a hard time finding one company that had all the products we needed. We got forks from one place, boxes from another. Green Safe makes it easier.”
For more information about Michigan Green Safe Products, check out their website at http://www.michigangreensafeproducts.com.
For other environmentally-focused stories, visit our Green News section at https://oaklandcounty115.com/category/green-news.