Environmental Steward of the Year Winner Feature
November 14, 2022
Written by Ethan Taylor, Western Community Engaged Learning Student with Green Economy London
This year, Green Economy London has presented the Environmental Steward of the Year Award to Play Away Indoor Park for numerous sustainable activities leading to a positive London environment and community impact. This award recognizes a member’s involvement, participation, and leadership in projects and actions that positively impact the community and ecosystems of London and surrounding area. Play Away’s desire to improve and learn from new sustainable practices inspires and informs members of their community and beyond to think outside the box and find sustainable solutions to everyday problems
Play Away Indoor Park is an indoor playground that offers a play area and programming for children aged eleven and under to stay active and burn energy while connecting with the community. This year, Play Away replaced their fluorescent lights to LED lighting, reducing annual energy usage by 64% (approx. 24,000 kWh)! In addition to increased efficiency, LED’s also produce less heat and last up to 50,000 hours longer than fluorescent lights. Play Away’s switch to LED from fluorescent lighting demonstrates exactly how small businesses can conduct sustainable practices that also save on the bottom line.
Play Away reinstated their composting program for all organic waste. Noticing the waste produced through disposable plates and utensils, they committed to using and composting all their single plates, cutlery, and coffee cups. Coupled with their new composting garden and green wall, the program diverts up to 120L of organics a week. The garden is a point of connection for the surrounding London community as Play Away invites children to learn about nature and sustainable growing with Wild Wednesdays, where kids get actively involved in growing tomatoes, peas, peppers, and herbs to be donated to the London Food Bank. This year 22 pounds of food was grown and donated. It is great to see Play Away educate their community on the impact of composting and urban food gardens.
They continue to show dedication to implementing sustainable practices wherever possible through their organized carpools and Electric Vehicle (EV) rides for employees on the way to work. Recognizing the need for sustainable transit options for employees, Play Away organized fourteen carpools and twenty EV rides per month this year. This was an important improvement as the only other previously available method of travel for employees was by car. Play Away continues to explore transit solutions as they are currently planning on implementing an E-bike program for employee transit in 2023.
Working with Green Economy London has allowed Play Away to track and manage their sustainable commitments and conduct meaningful and informed practices. Congratulations to Play Away Indoor Park for being Green Economy London’s 2022 Environmental Steward!
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