More than 100 area businesses have been recognized by the City of Austin for their efforts to make sustainability a key part of day-to-day operations. By resolving to go green, these companies are helping protect the environment, saving money, and making Austin a more livable place.
We decided to get up close and personal with some of Austin’s Green Business Leaders. Follow along each month as we get to know these leaders in Sustainability a little bit better. This month, we heard from one of our founding AGBL’s and a Platinum member; Recycled Reads; Austin Public Library’s used bookstore. Recycled Reads sells literary materials withdrawn from the Library’s collection and donated by the community; giving a second (or third) life to books! Read below to find out what Recycled Reads librarian, Betsy Evans, thinks about everything from the challenges of being green to what is the best food truck in town!
What inspired Recycled Reads to become an Austin Green Business Leader?
As the Managing Librarian of Recycled Reads, Mindy Reed, puts it, Recycled Reads is the ultimate Austin Green Business. Our mission is to save green for Austin by selling surplus library material to the community and to push Austin to be green by diverting books and other media from the landfill. As soon as we heard about the Austin Green Business Leader group, we knew we had to go for Platinum recognition.
What are some green actions you have completed that you are proud of or that you think are innovative?
Our green programming initiatives have grown exponentially in the past year, and for that we are proud. When books and other media do not sell (for example, if they’re damaged or contain outdated, irrelevant information), we work to repurpose the material before choosing to recycle it. Our Upcycle This! craft night is a free upcycled craft workshop where the craft is derived from whatever material we have in excess (lots of times paper and cardboard). See some of Laura’s past creations!
What was the biggest challenge to become a green business?
The biggest challenge for us is working to stay on the cutting edge of being a green business. A member of our staff has recently committed to taking our organic material home to be composted. We dream of working to educate our customers on all of our green excitement, a term we call sustainability literacy.
Has the Austin Green Business Leaders helped you become a greener business?
Having the AGBL scorecard laid out in front of us was a great way to say, “Here’s what we’re doing, and here are some other cool things we can do.” We’re happy to be a part of a group that works toward making Austin’s community a better, more sustainable one.
What advice would you give to other businesses looking to create change?
Our advice? A great slogan we’ve borrowed: Reduce, reuse, and then recycle. For example: Who needs to buy new notepads? We’ve got scratch paper coming out of our ears. (Seriously, we’ll be happy to pass some along.)
President Obama has just made you the Sustainability Czar for the United States. What would be your first act?
My first act as Sustainability Czar for the United States? Everyone must compost, compost, compost! Composting has changed my life for the better. Our trashcan has never been lighter, and my garden never greener.
What’s your favorite food trailer in Austin?
Thai Thani on Manor is my favorite trailer right now. I also can’t resist any of the food trailers that park in front of the Draught House…
Like what you see? Check out the Austin Green Business Leaders website if you’re interested in joining! You'll become a part of the green business network and invited to events with other green business leaders. Plus, receive recognition and a tool kit to help you promote your green business. The program can also help you strengthen your team and build employee morale. Green business is good business, especially in Austin.