Jay Lehman, founder of the iconic general store, Lehman’s, has been called the grandfather of green. “Waste not, want not,” he says. “Being eco-friendly is the right way to run your business – it’s good stewardship.”
At Lehman’s, there are a number of ways the family owned and operated company is reducing its carbon footprint. The Cast Iron Café, in the center of the store, has eliminated plastic straws and is now using paper straws. Plastic straws have been in the news recently, and have been identified as a major source of pollution in the oceans. According to ukonserve.com, more than 90 percent of all trash floating in the world’s oceans is plastic. It’s logical that plastic accounts for the most harmful man-made items in the ocean. But what we often forget is that animals are ingesting this plastic waste every day, especially straws.
Many marine biologists, photographers, and sea lovers have captured the impact of single-use plastic on animals. As the plastic travels into and around the ocean, it breaks into tiny pieces that are then easily ingested by marine life, which can be deadly.
In addition to removing plastic straws from the menu, Lehman’s has plastic and glass recycling bins for customers and signage is replacing handouts for special events.
The office recycles paper and many vendors now receive an on-line payment from an emailed invoice, saving paper in both directions. The warehouse uses recycled bubble wrap and paper for packaging and many of the cardboard boxes received are recycled and reused.
“If everyone did their part, plastic could be greatly reduced, if not eliminated, from our pollution stream,” said Lehman.
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