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Businesses join the eco-friendly bandwagon

Tania moran
Tom’s Folk Cafe is one of the many local businesses that are practicing the eco-friendly initiative. They are using biodegradable boxes and silverware.

El Paso is a pulsating mecca of flourishing businesses and entertainment establishments that are eager to please the masses.  Everywhere throughout the city, we have a multitude of locations trying to make their mark on the local scene.

Many of these establishments are taking measures to be eco-friendly. While it may be an option for businesses, it is not one that is easily chosen. Luckily, there are some businesses that apply eco-friendly factors to their company’s mission, which ultimately improves the community and its clientele.

“Businesses are interested in saving money and furthering their bottom line just as much as we at the city are,” said Lauren Baldwin, member of the El Paso Green Initiative. “We want to help businesses learn how they can cut costs while still promoting themselves as a ‘green’ business.”

There are now studies that show that consumers are starting to care much more about how socially responsible businesses are, and it is affecting their buying decisions.

Packaging, waste and recyclable materials are important to consumers and we all know that energy efficiency and cost savings are important for businesses, Baldwin said.

The term eco-friendly is also quite vague itself. It is used quite frequently and often without any indication of it’s meaning. According to, being eco friendly means, “employing the use of practices, principles, and policies in an effort to provide a product that will positively impact the environment.”

As the hype of being eco-friendly rises, so does the pressure for companies to comply. Therefore, the current generation of consumers are becoming more environmentally aware, which in turn creates a pressure for companies to live up to their demands.

According to, the main goals of becoming an eco-sustainable company include enhancing brand and increasing competitive advantage, increasing productivity and reducing costs, improving financial and investment opportunity, minimizing carbon risk and improving energy efficiency. However, the most appealing benefit for these companies is joining the movement toward environmental sustainability.

Some local businesses are already on the bandwagon, and some are even conducting it.  The Groovy Smoothie Nutrition Bar, located at 702 Wyoming Ave., takes an innovative approach to their water usage and waste.

“We figured since we use non-toxic cleaners and organic, natural fruit and vegetables, then we can use our used water to hydrate plants,” said Vanessa Mendoza, owner of the business.

With city permission, they recycle their water usage by watering plants across town.

They also use it to water their own fruits and vegetables, mostly
leafy greens.

If they don’t have produce, they buy it from Sprouts, which is also where The Green Ingredient, located at 201 E. Main Drive, gets their organic ingredients. They also buy from La Semilla, which is dedicated to building a self-reliant region throughout the city and southern New Mexico.

“It’s important for us to get our stuff locally,” said Lara Ramos, general manager and chef at The Green Ingredient. “We get everything organic and natural, and both Sprouts and La Semilla allow us to offer this to our customers. By sourcing locally, we can help the community and local farmers while maintaining the business here in El Paso. We are also becoming more dedicated to conserving energy by not using gas or flyers, and we are developing our own compost.”

Craft and Social, a local craft beer and wine location, also utilizes composting.

“What we basically do is add the leftover beer from the night to the compost and whatever leftover food scraps as well,” said Rafael Terrazas, one of the owners of the establishment.

Adding beer to compost provides a good source of nitrogen and the good bacteria found in the compost will benefit from the yeast.  Craft and Social furnishes its location with recycled and reused furniture, making it a good example of an eco-friendly business. Terrazas also said that a business recycling bin will soon be available at Craft and Social, which will be shared with neighboring restaurant, Pot Au Feu.

Another location that practices eco-friendly measures is Tom’s Folk Café, located just across from the UTEP campus.

“Here at Tom’s Folk Café, we believe in trying to reduce our carbon footprint and support the industries that do so as well,” said Lawrence Acosta, owner of the eatery. “We’ve taken measures such as using biodegradable boxes and silverware for all to-go orders, purchasing as much organic and local product and food as we can, giving our used fryer oil to a company to make bio-fuel.”

Acosta said Tom’s Folk Café purchases all their produce, beef, bread and nuts locally.

“We also try to get diary from a local source as well. It is important to us to not only support other local and small business in the area, but to maintain a good environmentally safe mindset for our business,” he said.

Baldwin encourages more businesses to join the movement, which she said will make these businesses more sustainable.

“We help our economy by encouraging local purchasing, encouraging progressive social corporate responsibility, which can help protect our environment and reduce waste,” Baldwin said.

Learn more about the El Paso Green Initiative by visiting

Jose Soto may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Jose Soto
Jose Soto, Staff Reporter
Jose Soto is a multimedia journalism major with a minor in creative writing. He joined The Prospector team in November of 2013 as an entertainment reporter. Jose previously wrote fashion blogs for various mediums. He has since written about musical performances, restaurant reviews, artist features and writes occasional columns. In addition to writing for the Prospector, Jose also writes for Minero Magazine and for The City Magazine. A fan of prose and lyricism, he also writes material on his personal time.  A musical enthusiasts as well, he strives to keep a broad music library and hopes to write music reviews while transitioning into news reporting as well.  He also highly enjoys coffee, reading a good book and dining out. Jose plans to pursue a career with The New York Times, The Denver Post or NPR.
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Businesses join the eco-friendly bandwagon