A Shift from Single-use Plastic Pollution
As a business that holds Mother Nature at its core, Enchanted Gardens felt obliged to take a hard look at our waste production and change what we can in order to reduce it. In 2019, we successfully eliminated single-use plastic water bottles, dishware, and flatware from the grounds.
In 2018, news about the global devastation of coral reefs as a result of Global warming has us reflecting on the amount of daily waste produced by our retail operations. Our staff and customers are exposed to the elements while at the nursery and suffer from rising temperatures as well; but we want to make them as comfortable as possible In the Houston heat, nothing is more important than staying hydrated.
To compromise, we installed water dispensers with compostable paper cups instead of plastic bottles. The dispensers use reusable water jugs that are picked up by a third party company and refilled each week. The system has its challenges, but we estimated that it keeps over 500 single-use water bottles per week from polluting our natural ecosystems — a victory for the planet and for us!
Our Colorful Kitchen
The Gardens boasts a strong employee family culture, and much of that is due to our frequent group lunches. A couple of days each week, our Enchanted team of Power Moms magically puts together enough home-cooked food for the whole team. They often incorporate eggs from The Gardens’ resident chickens and herbs from the community veggie n’ herb garden.
The lunches were not planned to be weekly, so the kitchen was not stocked for the full Enchanted family. Plastic dishes and flatwares were used and discarded, filling our trash bins after each meal. This system hurt the environment, our monthly grocery bills, and whoever had trash duty on those days.
The change happened when one environmental enthusiast and one thrift-store enthusiast put their minds together and hatched a plan that would clean out both the kitchen and our trash bins. Today, our kitchen is as enchanting as our grounds, housing an eclectic collection of painted ceramic plates and mugs. Thanks to the support of the entire team doing their own dishes and taking all the changes in stride, the family lunches live on with less negative repercussions on the environment.
Moving Forward as a Community
This Earth Day, Enchanted Gardens wants to bring attention to the power we all have in our immediate environments and communities. As part of both the green and retail industries that are responsible for much environmental degradation and waste production, we want to share our efforts in the hope of inspiring others to do so in Richmond, Rosenberg, Houston, and beyond. We must try to change what we have control over. It is not always easy or convenient, but change never is.
Visit the Hamman Hall Of Texas Coastal Ecology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for a comprehensive look at our local southeast Texas ecosystems, including the wetlands and Gulf of Mexico coastline. Check https://www.hmns.org/ for news and updates before visiting.