April 22 is Earth Day, the annual celebration of all thing “green.” From movie screenings, eco fashion shows or clean-up volunteer activities, there are many ways for Washingtonians to participate in the celebration, too many ways for me to even attempt to list them all. So I thought I would focus on a few I think are pretty neat.
The first one probably doesn’t need anymore advertising but I’ll mention it briefly because, well, I need my caffeine fix in the morning, so I’ll definitely be participating! Starbucks is offering of a free brewed tea or coffee to anyone who brings in a reusable mug or tumbler. For those who do not own one, you can just pick one up and benefit from a 20% discount. According to the international coffee and coffeehouse chain, reusable serveware and tumbler use still only accounts for a small percentage of total beverages served, but those who do bring in reusable mugs make a significant impact. In 2010, people brought their own tumblers into their stores more than 32 million times, keeping nearly 1.45 million pounds of paper out of landfills. It’s a easy habit really, and I personally always keep a tumbler at my desk, though I don’t always remember to bring it with me when I go for my caffeine fix at Starbucks or Caribou. I should though…
The other two “events” have to do with wine. I am French afterall. Firefly has become an official wine cork recycling drop-off site in honor of the Kimpton Hotels EarthCare Week 2011. In partnership with ReCork by Amorim, Firefly is collecting used corks which will then be recycled into useable materials such as shoes and flooring tiles. Cork collection will continue throughout the year so this isn’t a one-day kinda thing. I think the Dupont Circle establishment is the perfect location for this initiative. Executive Chef Daniel Bortnick is committed to environmental sustainability, using local farmers and surveyors for his food as well as a seasonal menu. The interior of the restaurant showcases this commitment, from the salvaged barnwood tables to the recycled wine bottle glassware and of course, the floor-to-ceiling “firefly tree.” Just a few days ago Firefly received an Environmental Excellence Awards from Mayor Vincent C. Gray, recognizing Chef Bortnick for his rigorous recycling and composting program and for its cork collection efforts. So next time you head out to Firefly, for let’s say their fabulous $2 mimosa weekend brunch, don’t forget to bring in your corks!
And last but not least, I love that Kimpton’s Monaco Alexandria hotel is hosting a weeklong (April 15-22, every evening between 5-6PM) pop-up art exhibit showcasing over a dozen regional artists’ works made entirely from recycled materials. Inspiration for the artwork ranges from hotel shampoo bottles transformed into a lion’s foot (I have a million of those at home, why didn’t I think to make some fabulous art piece with them?), to a Tide bottle converted into a colorful fish. And if you’re planning on visiting the exhibit tomorrow (April 22), why not head to the Butcher’s Block nearby afterwards? Between 6 and 8PM, the charming little marketplace will offer a complimentary tasting of bio-dynamic and organic wines where you can not only try out new environmental friendly wine but also educate yourself on this growing segment of the wine market.
And of course, don’t forget to make to make a pledge on the A Billion Acts of Green campaign facebook page. No pledges are too small, from “I pledge to bring all my corks to recycle at Firefly” to “I will only drink organic wine.” Have a great Earth Day everyone!