Sustainability at the center of Cleveland - A.J. Rocco's starts composting

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 12/02/2005 - 09:21.

Sustainability becomes part of everyone's everyday life in Cleveland as we all connect together and leverage the strengths of all. There was a perfect demonstration of that this week at REALNEO's home away from the office - A.J. Rocco's Espresso Bar and Restaurant - as a result of REALNEO member Sudhir Raghupathy bringing together a group of socially conscious young people he calls NEO Net Impact, on Tuesday, November 29, at A.J. Rocco's. Just two days later, A.J. Rocco's became the first downtown restaurant participating in a program to add their organic waste to a composting initiative in Ohio City.

All it took for this to happen was connecting Net Impact members together. At Sudhir's meeting, member, Maurice Small, who is Learning Garden Manager for the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and Coordinator for Cleveland City Fresh, connected with Net Impact member Nicole Tuzzio, who works at  A.J. Rocco's and shares an interest in organic produce and gardening. Maurice explained to Nicole about his initiative to composte restaurant waste, - Nicole connected Maurice with A.J. Rocco's owner Brendan Walton and two days later bins were set up to collect waste that can be composted (e.g. coffee grounds, egg shells, and other organic matter).

A.J. Rocco's is thus the first restaurant in downtown Cleveland to participate in this community-wide, cooperative sustainability initiative, joining the likes of Great Lakes Brewing Company, Parkers, and Lolita, among other. For more information on the program, contact Maurice Small at mrsmall216 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Such socially conscious action is not unique for locally-owned A.J. Rocco's, which roasts its own coffees, hand-bags locally-made organic teas, provides free wi-fi, recycles unused bagels as bagel chips, and was the first bar/restaurant in Cleveland to offer a completely smoke-free environment. Next up - they plan to be the first restaurant in downtown Cleveland that recycles glass waste.

On St. Patrick's Day,  A.J. Rocco's is also the Cleveland-area home of the St. Baldrick's Foundation's annual fundraising to cure childhood cancer. On St. Patrick's day 2005, A.J. Rocco's helped raise over $150,000 by shaving the heads of sponsored locals, including Forest City's Brian Ratner, placing this small venue in St. Baldrick's Foundation's Top 5 fundraisers nation-wide.

So, join the sustainabiliity movement by regularly joining REALNEO and those in the know at A.J. Rocco's and contributing to composting in NEO. A.J. Rocco's is at 812 Huron Road and is open from around 6 AM until 8 PM - sometimes later...

better late than never

Americans/Clevelanders are far behind when it comes to appreciating the importance of composting. You see compost bins by so many buildings in Germany: homes, businesses, schools. There is no reason we can't be like that here. Composting is the right thing to do. Every business and individual creating organic waste should make a serious effort to compost it. As a gardener for many years I have maintained a compost pile. It is amazing to see the volume  of compost material created by just one family. In a realtively short time it is ready to go back into the earth where it belongs  -- rather than wasting energy, resources, and filling up landfills by throwing it the garbage.


Evelyn, I agree with you. When we were in Okinawa(only 6 short weeks ago), we had a composte. We used it for our garden where we had bananna, acerola, pineapple, aloe vera, etc.

In Okinawa, they sold compost "bins" of varying types and sizes. What suprised me was how effective it was for creating excellent soil for our garden. And how easy it was to do it. It took no special effort really.

In Japan, there are extensive laws requiring the separation of combustible, non-combustible, plastics, metal garbage etc. Having to separate our garbage may have made it seem easy, since we kept most compostable stuff separated anyway.