As a self-proclaimed pizza and cookie connoisseur, Kelly Sullivan, a junior at San Ramon Valley High School, was happy to meet with owner, Heather Clapp, to review the sustainable measures adopted at the restaurant.
Sullivan and six other students from the Advanced Placement Environmental Science Program are volunteering their time as sustainability consultants, helping local businesses take part in the Danville Area Sustainable Business Program. The students have also been visiting local businesses with brochures to introduce the program and encourage businesses to get sustainable.
Matching a business that has pledged to adopt sustainable practices with a sustainability consultant is proving to be a win-win combination. The business receives support in completing the program checklist and the students gain exposure to local businesses and the trade-offs a business makes running their operations.
During Sullivan's visit to Jules she reviewed and matched checklist items with sustainable practices that the restaurant has adopted. She identified that Jules met the criteria to qualify as a Danville Area Sustainable Business.
“I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone! It’s healthy too," Sullivan said.
Organic vegetables top many pizzas at Jules Thin Crust. Along with options of whole grain pizza dough, they also offer gluten-free pizza dough and cupcakes.
Heather Clapp and her husband, Jeff have given tours of their sustainable restaurant to local Girl Scouts and elementary school students and welcomed working with local high school students.
Upon completing the checklist, Heather said: “I’m so impressed at the work that Cindy Egan (SRVHS Environmental Science and Engineering Teacher) and her students are doing.”
To qualify as a sustainability consultant, these Advanced Placement Enviromental Science students attended an after school lecture to learn specifically about sustainable business measures.
Already, Jules Thin Crust and over a dozen other businesses have completed more than 25 sustainable measures to be designated as a Danville Area Sustainable Business this month. Jules is also one of several local businesses taking part in a new food waste recycling program facilitated by the Contra Costa County Solid Waste Authority.
Food waste collected from Jules and other local restaurants is recycled into methane gas. This gas is then captured and used to generate electricity to power the East Bay Municipal Utility District's Water Treatment facility in Oakland. The process also creates a compost-like material used by central valley farmers to replenish the soil.
Jules Thin Crust isn’t the only restaurant getting creative about saving energy and resources.
Another San Ramon Valley High School Student and Environmental Club Vice President, Dana Wilke, thought up the water program to encourage restaurants to only serve drinking water on request, to save water and energy.
A restaurant serving an average of 500 customers per day could potentially save 700 gallons of drinking water per month by serving water only when it is requested by their customer—based on the assumption that the restaurant uses 12 ounce drinking glasses for water and half the customers choose alternative beverages to complement their meal.
Not only would 700 gallons of water be saved, but staff time would be saved bringing water to and from the tables, handling in the kitchen and washing glasses. There would also be savings on dish soap, wash water, energy to dry them and less pollution.
On top of looking for ways to save water, Norm's also recycles used kitchen oil into biofuels and has banned Styrofoam containers choosing to use recyled paper ones instead for takeout orders.
Newly pledged restaurant La Boulange Bakery came aboard this week to take the program’s 30-Day Challenge. Sara Cain, the bakery's general manager, will meet with a student sustainability consultant on Monday to complete the checklist.
Visiting the café you can’t help but notice that environmentally-friendly practices are ingrained in their corporate philosophy.
From cheery reminders to save water and energy in their bathrooms, to food composting bins front and center in their restaurant La Boulange is sure to earn their designation as a Danville Area Sustainable Business in short order.
Follow along and see which local business will be recognized next as a Danville Area Sustainable Business. To learn more about the program and the 30-Day Challenge, visit: Danville Area Sustainable Business Challenge.