By Cathriona Fey
BAPA Community Outreach
While working events at the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, Julia Roberto of Calabria imports, had no other choice but to “go green.” Eco-friendly policies guide the plates, cups, and disposal processes that are required for weddings, corporate gatherings, and other events that take place at two of our city’s most important tourism destinations. Roberto gained not only a better understanding of sustainability practices, but also an appreciation for the ability to make an impact through simply swapping out these commonly unsustainable products with more environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Roberto brought that knowledge and appreciation back to the South Side and to her family’s Italian deli, carry-out, and catering restaurant at 1905 W. 103rd St. She recommended using eco-friendly packaging and plating alternatives. What started out as a few changes to how food from the Calabria food truck was packaged, expanded to the restaurant and deli, and now the catering side of the business.
Roberto says the costs of eco-friendly packaging, plates and cutlery has steadily decreased over the last few years making their use a more feasible option for small businesses. And Calabria’s customers are noticing!
Calabria now integrates eco-friendly packaging that includes biodegradable carryout containers, bamboo cocktail plates and grazing platters, compostable paper food boxes and green grocery bags labeled “reusable, recyclable and biodegradable.”
Roberto said they’re not done yet. She is currently trying out other eco-friendly packaging products for the deli and utensils they would also like to start using this year.
While making a switch to using all eco-friendly products may not be a viable option for most businesses, Calabria, along with other local businesses, have proven that small changes over time can still have an impact and also appeal to environmentally-focused customers.
Neighbors ordering carryout can also make eco-friendly changes by requesting that their orders not include napkins, utensils, condiments and additional bags or packaging unless needed. How can you “green” your next order?