Encouraging environmental sustainability is important to Local First Arizona’s mission to create resilient communities. This year, LFA took a larger step towards embracing environmental sustainability throughout all major events as well as creating resources and providing information to business coalition members who were interested in implementing sustainability practices. 

Business Sustainability

Every year, Americans create 251 million tons of trash, and 164 million tons ends up in landfills. To encourage sustainable behavior throughout LFA's business coalition, Local First Arizona worked closely with several local businesses to decrease their waste and help them incorporate sustainability initiatives, including Short Leash Hot Dogs, Amici Catering, and Historic Brewing. LFA found that recycling is an easy first step for businesses to increase their sustainability impact, as recycling reduces the amount of waste in landfills, saves energy, reduces pollution, conserves natural resources and helps create new jobs. To encourage business coalition members to recycle, LFA held an informational session regarding “recycling in the workplace” in partnership with Keep Phoenix Beautiful, as well as created an extensive resource list for recycling by city across the state of Arizona. 

Influencing Policy 

Local First Arizona attended the American Sustainable Business Council's conference in Washington, D.C. which gathers business and policy leaders from across the country to discuss how legislation is affecting businesses. A major takeaway from this conference was that local businesses have an important voice and elected officials must hear from them. LFA also went to Congress’ Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship with a group of leaders interested in advancing policies, where LFA relayed the stories of business coalition members who are making a positive impact in their community by local sourcing, giving back, creating quality jobs and incorporating environmentally sustainable behavior. 

Sustainability At Local First Arizona

In the last year, Local First Arizona diverted over 9,000 pounds from the landfill for several of LFA's major events including the BALLE Conference, Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition, Arizona Rural Policy Forum, and Certified Local Fall Festival. The LFA office recycles, has installed a refillable water station and started composting. We donate reusable goods to thrift stores and resource centers.

2015 Highlights

  • Meetings with Infusionsoft, Joe’s Real BBQ, Short Leash, Tucson Clean & Beautiful, Cortez Coffee, Phoenix Public Market, Upward Projects, Technicians for Sustainability, Accurate Signs
  • Guided tour of City of Phoenix Materials Recovery Facility
  • Tabling & outreach at Sustival, Earth Day at the DBG, Earth Day at Glendale Community College, Earth Day at Estrella Mountain Community College, Earth Day at Phoenix Renews
  • Guided tour of Orchard Learning Center & Recycled City’s compost facility
  • Held a summer Recycling Info session with Keep Phoenix Beautiful
  • Can collection with Short LeashCork collection with Upward Projects (over 20 pounds in 1 month)
  • Implemented ‘Towards Zero Waste’ plan at BALLE 2015 Conference diverting 1,320 pounds of compostable waste from landfill
  • Managed four Sustainability Interns (two per semester) who assisted in research and implementation of special projects