It's one small step for coffee drinkers, one giant leap for sustainability.
Balzac's Coffee Roasters in Niagara-on-the-Lake has installed a new patio and driveway, made with the equivalent of 72,000 plastic bags.
The NOTL location is the first Balzac's to use the eco-friendly surface. The installation was completed on April 13.
The idea came from a need to replace the driveway and patio, combined with an effort to help the planet in the process.
Steve Janzen, general manager of Balzac’s, said the initial effort “grew largely out of circumstance, as the parking lot needed to be permeable to allow for proper drainage. The owner of the building and home of our beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake café, suggested Ecoraster as an option.”
“The beauty was that it was environmentally friendly, something very important to Balzac’s, as one of our founding values, from our start in 1993,” Janzen said.
“It also allowed us to turn a section into a patio for our customers to savour a moment outdoors with others and a great cup of coffee.”
The surface made of recycled plastic totals about 800 square feet, including the 400-square-foot driveway and similarly sized patio space.
The material, which costs about $30 per square foot, was installed by Smithville company MC2 Contracting Inc., a Balzac's spokesperson said.
On top of being made entirely from used plastics, the interlocking Ecoraster system also eliminates storm water runoff, “minimizing pollutants entering our natural water bodies and reduces the risk of flooding — mitigating that increased potential due to climate change.”
The patio space contains traditional patio stone, held in place by the Ecoraster system.
“The permeable nature of the surface also helps us greatly reduce the need for winter salt, again protecting our environment and ensuring that we do our part to keep the earth healthy,” Janzen said.
He said the idea was one that fit with Balzac's core values.
“Sustainability has always been a cornerstone of Balzac’s so this was an easy decision once we became aware of the many sustainable and environmental benefits of ecoraster.”