The Green Business Challenge is one of the unique partnerships we participate in, to make sure we continue to progress on sustainability and environmental improvements we can make, as one of the only sustainability-focused landscaping company in St. Louis. The EarthWays Center encourages businesses to go greener by participating in the yearly challenge, and we are here for it!
This year we participated at the Leaders / Champion Level. Our Innovation Project idea was to create a native plant restoration garden near the trailhead and road intersection of Centennial Greenway close to Olive Boulevard. Unfortunately the pandemic paused our planning with the City of Olivette, so we completed the challenge with other sustainable actions. We are hoping to continue planning with Olivette in 2021. These are a few of the challenges we completed, to become a more sustainable landscaping company.
Gifting Plastic Pots to Local Gardeners
As landscapers, we are responsible for lots of plants that go into the ground. We plant trees, shrubs, and expansive garden spaces packed with perennials and native plants. These plants come in plastic containers, which we usually take in big loads to recycle to a recycling center in Florissant, MO. During the pandemic, plastic pot recycling was paused. Because we couldn’t recycle these pots, we offered them for free on social media, Facebook gardening group pages, and to our landscaping and gardening clients. We had great responses and multiple pick-ups from local gardeners in need of these pots for their own gardening projects as well as a local farmer who was able to reuse an entire truckload of plastic pots!
This ended up being an eco-friendly way we were able to adapt to new challenges we faced during the Coronavirus pandemic. Plastic pots were reused instead of recycled, and we hope we can continue to keep these pots out of landfills until recycling is available again.
Recycling Stations & Signs
We wanted to make recycling as easy as possible in our office. Our sustainability team improved accessibility to recycling by creating new Recycling Stations in multiple location across our office buildings. The most heavily used station is right by our dumpster, helping to keep recyclables out of the trash. We posted easy to read signs in both English and Spanish to help bring attention to the three new stations.
Now, recycling is easier at our busy landscaping office for our team and visitors. We also purchased new recycling bins to use in heavy use rooms like our conference room and main printing station, to reduce the amount of recyclables that would have otherwise ended up in the trash.
Expanded Biodiversity with Native Pollinators & Plantings
When Quiet Village Landscaping moved into our new building 3 years ago, we had lots of building maintenance projects to tackle. In between client landscaping projects, we have slowly worked on a plan for our own surrounding landscaping, and ways we can best incorporate native plants and especially pollinators beneficial to the biodiversity of our local ecosystem. We have always been passionate about reintroducing native plants, and the concept of the Homegrown National Park. This year we expanded the number of native plants on our business property to include plants needed most by pollinators and local wildlife. We planted Butterfly weed, critical to the survival of the Monarch butterfly. We planted Northern spicebush, a host plant depended on by Swallowtail butterflies. We also planted American beautyberry, Echinacea (Coneflowers), Asters, and a selection of evergreens to create privacy between our building and the parking lot next door.
It’s always amazing to see the wildlife attracted to even the potted plants we have onsite for installation at client properties. Every year, we add more beautiful plants to our available outdoor spaces. These plantings also serve as a demonstration garden for our team, to learn which plants we like to use in sustainability-focused landscape designs.
Green Suggestion Box for Ideas and Team Collaboration on Sustainability Projects
One of the ideas the Green Business Challenge highlights in the challenge scorecard is really simple yet effective! Our office coordinator created a green suggestion box that is open for suggestions, ideas, and feedback. The box is open for anyone to use, and serves as a daily reminder that Quiet Village Landscaping values sustainability and greener business practices. It has already proven to be a great tool to promote awareness of eco-friendly practices. Our green team meets every few months to review new ideas and make plans for bringing sustainability to the forefront of our business culture.
Social Distance Friendly Outdoor Meeting Space *in progress*
2020 has been one of the most challenging years for most businesses. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were able to continue working outdoors. While our employees were able to work outside, we slowly started to need safe places for our team to meet, besides our offices and conference rooms indoors. We then began working on improving an outdoor space next to our building that we previously didn’t utilize. The space had a small, simple patio with an ugly view of a U-Haul parking lot next door that wasn’t very appealing. We started by creating a new landscape design for the space that features mostly native trees and plants. The trees will fill-in overtime to create a natural privacy screening between our backyard patio and the parking lot. The native plants will create year-round interest and will be added to, using the landscape design as a guide.
By getting this new outdoor meeting space established this year, we are continuing to expand our native plant collection on-site. Our team can plan and host social-distance friendly meetings, enjoy lunch outside, and be surrounded by a beautiful landscape similar to the ones we design and install every day across St. Louis. Below is the dreary “before” photo of the outdoor space we are transforming. As plantings get established this year and spring back to life next year, we will be sharing the before/after photos on our social media pages!
We appreciate that The Green Business Challenge pushes us to focus on sustainability, especially in a year dominated by a pandemic. We always want to make sure we are prioritizing our planet in the choices we make. Thank you to Earthways Center for helping St. Louis businesses like ours remain committed to healthier business choices and practices that impact our climate.
Join us in making St. Louis a greener City! You can hire us to create a sustainably-minded landscape design for your home or business property. No space is too small – or too BIG – to start incorporating smarter landscaping practices that look beautiful and provide low-maintenance solutions compared to traditional landscapes with an enormous care burden that comes with an expanse of turf grass.