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Green is good


A new initiative in OKC strives to help area restaurants reduce, reuse and recycle.

Devon Green April 23rd, 2014

Two enterprising former restaurant owners looked around Oklahoma City’s restaurant industry and thought it could be a lot greener. Chris Buerger and his partner, Brian DeShazo, took notice of the fact that there is no infrastructure to recycle in area restaurants.

Brian DeShazo and Chris Buerger
Photo by Mark Hancock

“There is no way that on a busy Friday night, a bartender is going to be putting their glass in the right containers,” Buerger said.

They created Project Green Plate (PGP), an initiative to support and empower local restaurants to go green.

Green initiatives have recently become more visible in Oklahoma, but they are primarily for customers. Often, it’s far easier for consumers to make better choices to help reduce, reuse and recycle.

For businesses, especially restaurants, there often is no such solution. That is where PGP hopes to fill in the gap.

“We provide an unsorted, single way for restaurants and bars to recycle,” said Buerger.

The initiative’s mission is to simplify systems that will help them leave a smaller footprint. They are seeking funding to make their plans into a reality using crowdfunding website Indiegogo. The pair’s goal is $140,000.

“I know it’s a large amount to start with, but this allows us to be totally up and running,” Buerger said.

In addition to facilitating green initiatives, PGP want to be the supplier for eco-friendly alternatives to plasticware. There are compostable alternatives out there. In fact, you will see them at Arts Council of OKC’s Festival of the Arts this year, but they can be expensive.

Project Green Plate founders want to help any restaurant be as green as they want and not break the bank.

“The problem right now, like with food trucks, is that they can’t buy [these expensive items] in bulk,” he said.


How it works

Participating restaurants will have cards or bracelets for sale on the PGP website, projectgreenplate.com. Cardholders will get discounts or specials at all participating restaurants.

“They [restaurants] can have this almost for free; sell one a day and you basically pay for our service,” Buerger said.

Participating venues will have a logo on their front windows indicating that they are members and the aspects of the project they are working on improving. Member establishments also will have a monthly report published by PGP to show the statistics for that establishment’s recycling and energy use.

In the meantime, Project Green Plate’s Indiegogo campaign runs through May 19, and there are incentives to contribute. A donation several hundred dollars lets you handpick a restaurant for one month of PGP service. For $2,900, the venue gets service for a year.

Alongside the fundraising, PGP hopes grassroots buzz will help encourage restaurants to take part.

“Encourage your favorite venues to get involved. It only works in numbers,” Buerger said.

 
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