Can a business be successful and eco-friendly?

Earth Bread + Brewery has integrated well into Mt. Airy’s commercial district since opening in 2008. But what you may not know is that its owners strive to incorporate environmentally conscious principles into all aspects of the business.

 Peggy Zwerver and Tom Baker are the owners of Earth Bread + Brewery at 7136 Germantown Ave. The two of them, at least so far, are proving that you can succeed and be eco-friendly.

 

“We’re most proud of our waste stream and how little we put into the landfill,” Zwerver said. “We recycle everything that you can recycle and all the organic waste is composted. We put maybe five household trash bins out per week.”

The restaurant uses chlorine-free napkins made from recycled paper and biodegradable, corn-made kid’s cups, lids and straws to allow for easier composting.

In addition, nearly all the material used in the reconstruction of the restaurant has been reused and recycled, including the wrought-iron railing, hardwood floors and decorative chandeliers.

“Why not reuse what’s available?” Zwerver asked. Earth Bread + Brewery is a testament to the duo’s affinity for sustainability and reuse.

“It makes sense when you’re building now anyway because who can afford brand spanking new everything?” Zwerver asked. “Why not reuse what’s available?…These [stools] are basically the only thing I bought new.”

Community involvement and support have also been founding sentiments of Earth.

The restaurant hosts many fundraising events in which local nonprofits, like Dignity Housing, are invited to bring their organizations to the brewery for a flatbread and beer and a portion of the proceeds is then returned to the group. Non-perishables and cell phones are also collected at the restaurant and are then donated to local charities.

Zwerver and Baker use Earth as a vehicle to promote the community through fundraiser nights, hosting local artists or weekly quizzo nights.

In addition, the couple purchases 100 percent organic wheat dough for the restaurant’s flatbreads at the local Annville Mill in Lebanon County. During growing season, produce is also purchased locally.

Zwerver and Baker also show their support for local artists through their exhibiting drawings and paintings at the restaurant, many being sold with no request for commission.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Zwerver said. “Why would you have a business in a neighborhood and not support the people around it? Your neighborhood is supporting you so you need to give back.”

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