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Recycle Utah’s Green Business Award boasts a diverse list of winners

COVID-19 dictated a change in criteria

As a group of students watch, Recycle Utah's Green Business program manager Mary Closser, right, presents Duna Strachan, executive director of the Soaring Wings International Montessori School, with Recycle Utah's Green Business Resiliency Award on Friday.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Recycle Utah has selected a local compound pharmacy that creates custom medications for patients, a restaurant and a Montessori school for its annual Green Business Awards.

This year, however, the sustainability nonprofit made a COVID-19 adjustment to the award, which is given to local businesses that have made efforts to cut down their carbon footprints, said Eric Moldenhauer, Recycle Utah’s development and communications director.

“The name has been changed to Green Business Resiliency Award,” Moldenhauer said. “Because 2020 was a year of adaptations, we strove to adapt the award to honor businesses that have persevered through this pandemic with a sincere commitment to our community and our environment. In doing so, we picked three local businesses in Summit County that exemplified their commitment to do so during a difficult year.”



The award winners are Alpine Apothecary, Hearth and Hill restaurant and Soaring Wings International Montessori School.

These three businesses were singled out by a group of judges, led by Mary Closser, Recycle Utah’s education director who runs the Green Business program.



The Green Business program is a free service available to Summit County businesses looking to craft or enhance sustainability actions and plans, Moldenhauer said.

Some of these actions are as simple as having employees carpool or cutting down on how much paper the businesses use, he said.

“We don’t dictate what these goals need to be, and no goal is right or wrong,” Moldenhauer said. “It’s up to the businesses of how they want to change, and they lean on us to attain these goals. Recycle Utah is a green resource for these businesses.”

From left: Alpine Apothecary owner Trip Hoffman, Sydney Earnshaw, Kelly Gonzalez, Carolyn Michael and Jennifer Hoffman accept Recycle Utah's Green Business Resiliency Award on Thursday. Recycle Utah adjusted the award to reflect how local businesses have overcome COVID-19 challenges.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Closser sent out a questionnaire to a list of participating businesses in mid-December and asked what they had done over 2020 to continue or adapt new approaches to their sustainability goals, according to Moldenhauer.

While the staff at Alpine Apothecary was dedicated to waste reduction and is looking for more ways to help the planet, Hearth and Hill, which had to pivot from in-restaurant dining to curbside pickup due to COVID-19, has worked tirelessly to keep to-go containers eco-friendly, reduce energy usage and manage waste responsibly, Moldenhauer said.

Soaring Wings got creative and efficiently began regulating food packaging and food waste, while purchasing sanitizer in bulk and examining the driving patterns of parents, he said.

“It’s never easy picking one business over another, and there was a lot of deliberation with the replies,” he said. “We went through each business at a time, and the committee and judges unanimously came up with these three.”

Kori Durfee, general manager at Hearth and Hill, accepts Recycle Utah's Green Business Resiliency Award Thursday. The restaurant pivoted when COVID-19 arrived in Park City last spring and began offering curbside and delivery services, which emphasized its commitment to their staff's and patrons’ safety.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

Moldenhauer liked how diverse the winners are.

“We were happy to see different aspects of our community represented,” he said. “It just showcases the diversity of the program.”

The Green Business Program has grown exponentially since its inception five years ago.

“That first year we had 17 participating businesses, and the number has gone up to around 100,” Moldenhauer said.

The program is open to any Summit County business, he said.

“We have restaurants, doctors’ offices, art galleries and sporting goods stores,” Moldenhauer said. “It’s great to see large businesses like Deer Valley or Park City Mountain Resort to small businesses that have one or two employees making changes in the way they do business and in their personal efforts. It’s nice for the community to see this through these awards and see the effort these businesses put in, and it means so much to us to be a resource for them.”

For information about Recycle Utah’s Green Business program, visit recycleutah.org.


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