Belle Chasse Academy: Simple Solutions for Big Results

Are you as smart as a 3rd grader? When it comes to recycling, adults can take a cue from children: the simpler the task, the more likely it is to be done. Take recycling for instance: young students may not yet be able to understand the complexities of landfill engineering and how to prevent leachate from contaminating underground aquifers, but they know that the less stuff you bury in the ground the better for the earth! Give them a simple way to recycle items and they’ll gladly participate. To that end Belle Chasse Academy (BCA) has placed blue recycling trashcans inside every classroom and staff office. With convenient access to a distinctive low cost blue bin (green is nice too) the students can easily recycle paper, cans and plastic bottles. Our student Green Team collects the recycling twice per week so the bins get emptied on a regular basis. Does your business provide trash can sized recycling bins in every office or cubicle? This is a very low cost, highly effective way to significantly increase the amount of recycling collected at your establishment. Two other simple ideas at BCA have resulted in significant savings of money and lowering our carbon footprint. First, we have begun installing electric hand dryers in every bathroom. The negligible increase in electricity costs are more than offset by the savings on paper towels. Our 956 student K-8 school was using approximately $18,000 worth of paper towels every year! Children (and adults) tend to use far more towels than necessary to dry their hands. That’s a lot of paper waste not going into the landfill and a lot of money saved that can be redirected to providing an excellent education for our students. The other energy saving strategy we have employed this year is to install light timers/sensors in every classroom and bathroom. Rather than having our building lit up like a Christmas tree at night when no one is using the facility, these timers make sure that even if the teachers or custodians forget to turn off the lights the system will automatically shut itself off after a certain period of disuse.

March Green Business Tip

Restoration Thrift: The Social and Environmental Benefits of Secondhand Clothing.

10,500,000 tons! That is the amount of clothing Americans send to landfills each year. This is due, in part, to the fact that we buy five times as much clothing as we did in 1980. On top of this, our old clothing is filling up landfills since we only recycle or donate 15% of it. Clothing is cheap and trends change with each season. Both of these factors fuel our consumeristic lifestyles. The pressures to look a certain way are intense. You want to feel confident about your wardrobe, but because you are socially conscience, you are concerned about the environmental impact your purchases make. This is why thrift stores are a great way to ensure that last year’s wardrobe gets a new life and does not contribute to amassing landfills. Not only can you donate your clothes, furniture, household items, and more (and get a tax write-off) but you also can buy name brand items at prices even stores like Marshall's or TJ Maxx cannot beat. Think about all of those Pinterest projects you have been saying you want to try. Head to the thrift store first to explore all of the options for repurposing something into a show piece. There are huge deals to be had at thrift stores. Earlier this year, Restoration Thrift (2025 St. Claude Ave.) sold a “like new” Polo leather jacket that retails for $1,000 to a member of our Treasure Hunter’s Club for just $100! This is a huge deal on an item that will last a lifetime. You can join the club yourself at www.RestorationThrift.org so you can have access to these exclusive deals. The other great benefit of shopping at a non-profit thrift store (yes there are for-profit ones) is that they generally have a mission that involves giving back to the community.  This means you can look good, feel good, and do good when shopping and stick to that budget you resolved to keep this year. Restoration Thrift supports the work of the St. Roch Community Development Corporation, a 501(c)3 organization that is helping break cycles of poverty. You can learn more at www.StRochCDC.org. Whether you are upgrading your wardrobe, living room, or kitchen, thrift stores are great places to recycle your outgoing goods and a socially responsible place to find replacements. Remember, you can look good, feel good, and do good by shopping at Restoration Thrift. Generations to come will benefit from such a responsible choice.

February Green Business Tip

Why Circle Food Store Buys Local

Whether you are buying food for yourself, your family, or your business, buying local is the best way to support a sustainable economy that keeps food dollars circulating within our own communities. Circle Food Store has been dedicated to promoting fresh, local produce and products for over 78 years. In fact, even before Circle Food Store was a full-service grocery store, the owners were produce salesmen who sold fresh & local produce from their produce cart at the very site that the store stands today. Their decision to buy local is a commitment to participate in a more sustainable, self-supporting economy for the region. Since reopening after Katrina, Circle Food Store has rededicated itself to:
  • Building relationships with multiple local farms and food producers to provide not only fresh produce, but also products produced from these farms such as local honey, syrups, and even hot sauce.
  • Educating the community on the importance of eating local, healthy products.
  • Switched beef and veal suppliers to a local rancher right outside of Louisiana to offer fresher beef directly to consumers a few days after being slaughtered and cut by Circle’s in-house butcher.
Focusing on eating locally-grown produce and locally-made products is not only a way to stay connected to your local community, but is also proven to be fresher and better tasting. What does this mean for you and your family?
  1. Local foods are more fresh and ripe. - Since they don’t have to travel as far as food from other areas, local foods are produced, picked, and available for purchase FAST! So they stay fresh and better tasting long after purchase!
  2. Local food is healthier! - Essential nutrients are less likely to be lost during transit and long commutes.
  3. Local foods are more transparent! This means you are able to learn exactly what is used to grow and produce your foods. It’s also easier to build and maintain direct relationships with your farmers and producers, allowing you to have a greater connection to your community.Circle Foods team pic

Greentrepreneur: GivePulse

givepulse Although we were officially founded in 2012, George likes to think that the idea of GivePulse dates back to his childhood. He has a story about weed (the crabgrass kind), working with people with disabilities, the Virginia Tech Massacre and many more defined him as an individual. His first small nonprofit helped high schools fix random technology problems. Through these experiences he came to identify a formula: 30min + $30 = College Education. Specifically, if he and his friends were able to donate 30 minutes to volunteer and install a $30 router, it would provide wifi access to impoverished neighborhoods with children looking to apply and learn more about college. This formula set in motion a determination to address digital access, and quickly evolved into a platform to scale volunteerism and service learning. In 2012, George Luc set out to build a platform. Together with his CTO and co-founder, James McGirr, GivePulse was born, a civic network matching people in our community with causes they care about while enabling easy organization, management and mobilization of volunteers and supporters. From day one our mission has been to solve tough social problems through the use of technology. Keeping true to that original mission, today our civic engagement platform supports thousands of nonprofits, associations, institutions, businesses and organizations. What are some of your proudest moments as the owners of GivePulse?
When we have users thank us for the work we do and then pay us to do it full time. That's when we realize we have something special 🙂

How does your organization go about improving your social and environmental impact?

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What partnerships have you formed in order to leverage sustainable impact as a company?

Working with universities, the city, and local nonprofits have enabled us to collaborate with all the right stakeholders who care about the work we do. 

If you had a magic wand to change one thing that would make it easier for your company or other businesses in the region to be more impactful, what would that thing be?

Create a workplace atmosphere and environment to train and enable employees to be great citizens, parents and individuals for themselves and their community.

What advice would you give to other businesses who are trying to improve their internal practices to benefit their community?

Simon Sinek says it well with his talk on "start with why."

Anything else you would like to tell our community such as upcoming events or promotions they should look out for?

Sign up now and let us know how we can help serve you on any of your volunteer and donor engagement, database and management needs. 
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Greentrepreneur: Royal Carriages

Royal Carriages was started in 1941 by my grandparents, Clem and Violet Lauga, with one horse and carriage. My parents, Jim and Carolynn Lauga, continued this family run New Orleans tradition for over 35 years. Through these many years, our company has grown steadily into a full-service carriage company employing 45 people and stabling a like number of young draft mules. Through all these years of ownership, the company has remained in our family -- one that has a legacy of over 75 years experience in the New Orleans sightseeing industry. The fact that Royal Carriages is a family-run business is one reason why we are the oldest sightseeing carriage company in America. I would also like you to know that all our mules receive at least 3-6 months of vacation per year on one of our two lovely farms, one in Covington, Louisiana and the other in Poplarville, Mississippi countryside. We usually stable about 34 mules here in the city and the balance are kept on pasture. Royal Carriages prides itself on providing our guests with that personal touch. I would like to extend a warm welcome to you on your visit to New Orleans. We invite you to visit us on your next visit to New Orleans, and hope your stay in New Orleans is a pleasant one! James C. Lauga, Jr Third Generation Business Operator General Manager What are some of Royal Carriages' proudest moments? Continue reading

New City Recycling Resolution Passes Following America Recycles Day

CONTACT Liz Shephard, CEO at LifeCity LLC (504) 909 –CITY(2489) Liz@mylifecity.com www.mylifecity.com   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18th, 2016  

New City Recycling Resolution Passes Following America Recycles Day

NEW ORLEANS - Following the success of America Recycles Day, New Orleans City Council passed a resolution encouraging increased recycling to reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills. Local recycling community leaders including LifeCity, Keep Louisiana Beautiful, Cajun Encounters, Republic Services, and Whole Foods partnered with District "C" Councilmember Ramsey, Chair of the Committee on Public Works and Sanitation, to promote increased city-wide recycling efforts. Continue reading

Media Alert: French Quarter Businesses take tour of local Recycling Facility in honor of America Recycles Day

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press contact: Liz Shephard, CEO, LifeCity, (504) 909-2489 (o), (813) 417-0392 (c), Liz@mylifecity.com. What: In honor of America Recycles Day, local community partners have sponsored an event to educate businesses and political leaders about recycling in our community through a workshop and tour of a local material recycling facility. When: November 15th, 1:30 pm – 1:45pm, followed by tour from 1:45-2:15 pm. Where: 808 L & A Road, Metairie, LA, 70001 Building is located off of Airline Hwy at Republic Service’s Material Recycling Facility (MRF).  This is the only material recycling facility in New Orleans and is seeking to expand.  Local business leaders and City Council members will speak, and then take a tour of the recycling facility. With Whom: City Council Member Ramsey, French Quarter Business Leaders, the Sewage & Water Board, LifeCity, Republic Services, Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the New Orleans Chamber Foundation, Latrobe’s on Royal, Cajun Encounters, and more. Why: New Orleans only recycles 5% of its waste (eligible for pick up by the City of New Orleans).  This number is low when compared to cities like San Francisco that recycle 80-90% of their waste.  In honor of America Recycles Day, the City Council is providing a resolution to support increasing recycling in our community, in order to create jobs, protect resources for future generations, support sustainable business development, and reduce the harm that landfills so often cause near disadvantaged communities. There are still spots available for the Business Recycling Workshop at Latrobe's On Royal and Recycling Facility Tour (the bus is full). More details about both events here. Please join us today!

Businesses interested in more support and resources are encouraged to contact LifeCity at green@mylifecity.com.

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Greentrepreneur: Urban Conservancy

The Urban Conservancy is a New Orleans-based nonprofit that’s been around since 2001, focused on catalyzing equitable policy and practice related to our land use and local economy through research, education, and advocacy.  ‘ A lot of our focus with regard to land use right now has to do with our city’s changing relationship with water, and educating the public about the things we can all do to protect our community from excessive street flooding and subsidence.  Our Front Yard Initiative is an example of how we are taking that message to the public. StayLocal, Greater New Orleans’ independent business alliance is an Urban Conservancy initiative, and so of course the health of our place-based business community is always top of mind.

What are some of your proudest moments as executive director of the Urban Conservancy?

Continue reading

Green Home Blue Yard Tour Was a Success!

We began the Green Home Blue Yard tour with happy hour at Other Bar and ended with a cocktail party. In between, we visited three sites that exemplify smart building and landscape design that keep our sunken city below budget and above water. All were within walking distance of The Other Bar and it was a beautiful October evening to tour the neighborhood! Dana Eness, executive director of The Urban Conservancy, led us to a successful implementation of the Front Yard Initiative where a homeowner replaced front yard concrete with a garden. They showed before and after pictures of what had before been known as "Lake Valmont," the street flooding used to be so bad. Now, the rain garden takes a major burden off the pipes and the street drains much better during heavy rains. Michael Collins, developer and owner of The Other Bar, led a tour of houses he's built to be energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing, and resilient. The first was a 5,000 sq foot home that has a monthly energy bill of only $90. We ended the evening with a cocktail party at his latest development, built with reclaimed wood from the neighborhood. They use a heat-gun to identify needed improvements in insulation and use argon-gas filled windows to keep the houses sealed.