UPDATE: Students Mob Pizza Parlor to Promote Greening
UPDATE, November, 2010:
A little well-organized student fun can have a big impact. 52 tons per year, to be exact.
Inspired by a middle school student "Carrotmob" in June, 2010, the managers of the Emeryville Public Market are now composting 1 ton per week of food waste -- waste that used to go to the landfill.
The TMG Partners' Public Market management team partnered with the Alameda County Stop Waste program, Emery Youth Entrepreneurs and the City of Emeryville to implement the innovative composting program.
In only 6 months, they collaborated to create new signs for refuse bins with instructions in how to compost; successfully requested a mini-grant to hire five high school kids from Emery High to train Public Market customers to compost and recycle; and hired and managed the kids (resplendent in their Emeryville GreenTeam t-shirts) who completed the customer training over the summer. TMG Partners has even won the Alameda County Stop Waste Award for their efforts.
Learn how your school can run a Carrotmob.
June, 2010: Prospect Sierra middle school students recently became the first school group to organize a "Carrotmob." A Carrotmob is a simple, fun action that gets big results by promoting change with win-win solutions.
The Carrotmob idea is to gather a group of consumers who buy products to reward businesses for making the most socially responsible decisions. The students in Prospect Sierra's Carrotmob elective interviewed local business owners about ways to green their businesses, and KW Engineering donated free energy audits to the businesses in support of the students' work.
Three pizza parlors made green pledges and entered the contest, and Prospect Sierra students voted to choose the pledge that would have the greatest impact. The owner of the winning business, Pizza Mediterraneo, pledged to greatly reduce energy consumption by buying an energy efficient refrigeration system. He also offered to explore pooling resources with other businesses in the surrounding EmeryBay Food Court to buy compostable utensils and containers.
Then came the "mob." On June 3rd, between 3:30 and 6:30pm, students and their teachers, families, and friends bought pizza, salad, drinks and panini from Mediterraneo, which pledged 100% of profits during those hours to realizing their greening goals. It was quite a scene, and the local CBS affiliate showed up to record and share the enthusiasm (to watch TV coverage, go to: http://firstname.lastname@example.org)
A leader of the elective praised the kids involved as "thoughtful, articulate, positive, enthusiastic 'can-do' students," and lauded the "tremendous support from our school faculty, admin and parent community. It was beyond what we dared hope for."
Pizza Mediterraneo earned more in 3 1/2 hours during the Carrotmob than it normally would have brought in over 2 1/2 days. While it won't cover the entire cost of the new refrigerator, the additional profit will help with a hefty down payment.
And the ripples from the Carrotmob are still spreading. Mediterraneo will lead an effort to encourage EmeryBay Food Court businesses to buy compostable foodware, and Food Court management is already facilitating composting. While individual businesses had existing space for compostable food scraps behind their counters, there was no place for customers to sort compostables from other waste headed to the landfill.
The management of the Food Court took immediate action. They set up a compost container for customers the day of the Carrotmob, complete with signage. Concerned that customers new to composting might not know how to sort compostables from other waste, the manager of the Food Court has decided to hire local Emeryville youth during the summer to monitor and educate the public about composting at the Food Court.
If that wasn't enough, the city of Emeryville is considering making a proclamation related to greening and the Carrotmob. So what's the outcome? A fun community-building event, great pizza, a new energy efficient refrigerator, reduced waste, a new composting system, jobs for Emeryville youth, and a possible municipal proclamation! All thanks to teachers and students who believed they could learn, make a difference, and have fun at the same time.
To learn more about Carrotmobbing, go to http://carrotmob.org.