In a multi-part series, the Times-Journal staff will take a look at local businesses that are finding ways to be more eco friendly, whether by recycling or reducing their use of disposable products.

Limon’s Mexican Restaurant in Henagar is being highlighted for having recently implemented more than one way of reducing their carbon footprint.

More than a year ago, Limon’s owners purchased a cardboard baler that compacts and secures flattened boxes for recycling pickup.

Manager Mario Limon said the new baler helps the business in more ways than one.

“It’s beneficial for the environment because of the recycling aspect, but it also benefits us because if we didn’t do that, we’d have to pay for the dumpster to be picked up multiple times a week,” Limon said.

“Now we only get it picked up once a week and that’s enough because we don’t throw any cardboard away anymore.”

According to cardboardbalers.org, using a baler can reduce disposal costs by up to 80 percent, as well as reduces space for the business itself.

The kitchen staff works everyday at breaking down the boxes, loading the compactor and stacking and placing the bales for pickup. The compactor at Limon’s was purchased at Jet Polymer Recycling of Fort Payne and the company’s recycling and waste hauling program picks up the bales of compacted cardboard every few weeks, Limon said.

The Alabama Environmental Council website, alabamarecycling.org, says the cardboard recycling process “turns cardboard and paper into a pulp that is transformed into new paper items. The bulk of the newsprint, paper towels, toilet paper and storage boxes that people utilize today are a direct result of the efforts of the recycling industry.”

Less than a year ago, the restaurant also installed automatic hand dryers in their restrooms with a sign above that reads: “Going Green: You are using an energy efficient, high output hand dryer. Thank you for helping reduce Limon’s carbon footprint.”

Limon said this was another way to reduce garbage by encouraging their guests to opt for a paper-saving option.

Most recently, the staff has also begun cutting back on the amount of plastic products that are given out to customers. When a take out order is picked up, the wait staff now asks customers if they need plastic silverware before giving it out, Limon said.

“That started recently when we realized we were using a lot of plastic silverware and it probably wasn’t necessary, and we’ve now been asking customers first if they need them,” he said. “If they don’t need them we just don’t put them in the bag. So, we’re ordering a lot less of that now, too.”

The staff has made their own changes in their day-to-day operations to reduce their garbage, as well.

“Overall, we really try to lower our usage of plastic cups,” he said. “For example, our servers don’t get disposable cups. They bring their own from home and use reusable silverware.”

Limon said now that the business has grown exponentially from their old location across the street, they see the impact of the amount of garbage they acquire.

“When we were across the street we didn’t have that problem because we didn’t use nearly as much product, but now that we’ve come here, we’ve realized how much we’re using,” he said.

Limon’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 50 Lloyd Crye Drive in Henagar.

Editor’s note–

If you are a business owner who has a method of recycling or reducing use of disposable products and would like for your efforts to be highlighted for this multi-part series in the Times-Journal, call 256-845-2550 or email news@times-journal.com.

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