Austin Adamson is a Phoenix native and says he understands the importance of conserving water. When he opened up Ballmer Peak Distillery in Lakewood with Eric Strom last November, he had a goal of …
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Austin Adamson is a Phoenix native and says he understands the importance of conserving water.
When he opened up Ballmer Peak Distillery in Lakewood with Eric Strom last November, he had a goal of being sustainable. Ballmer Peak Distillery has a 320-gallon reservoir it uses in the fermentation process that is recirculated — an action that conserves more than 400,000 gallons of water.
The distillery also managed to keep 24,000 pounds of liquid waste from going to the landfill by partnering with Originateve, which provides holistic education opportunities to children. Originateve uses Ballmer Peak Distillery's waste as compost, feed and fertilizer.
Ballmer Peak Distillery's work to be sustainable isn't going unnoticed and is why it is one of eight of this year's recipients of Lakewood's Sustainability Awards.
The awards were established in 2008 and recognize leadership in community sustainability. The city announced the sustainability award winners on June 22.
“It's really exciting to be recognized within the community. We did (sustainable efforts) out of it being the right thing to do,” said Adamson. “I'm proud to be recognized and to feel like we are making a difference in our community.”
Among the city's sustainability award winners include a group of former fifth graders from South Lakewood Elementary School known as the “Styrofoam Stoppers.”
In 2019, the class learned about the negative impacts Styrofoam can have on human health and the environment and created projects like computer and board games, presentations, plays, posters and more about the issue.
In April of 2019, the Styrofoam Stoppers presented research about Styrofoam to officials like Lakewood Sustainability Manager Jonathan Wachtel and Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul.
The class launched an online petition calling for Styrofoam lunch trays to be removed from South Lakewood Elementary. Their efforts were a success, and Styrofoam trays are no longer used at the school.
Jonathan Durso, a member of the Styrofoam Stoppers, worked to help his classmates with their projects. When the fifth-grade class found out about the school ending its use of Styrofoam trays, the classroom erupted in cheers, Durso said.
“We realized that Styrofoam has a bunch of toxins in it, and they were getting in our food. We worked really hard on our projects,” said Durso, who is preparing to start seventh grade at Creighton Middle School in Lakewood.
The class was led by Christopher Sorency, a fifth-grade teacher at South Lakewood Elementary. Sorency said the Styrofoam Stoppers were genuinely interested in ending Styrofoam tray use at the school and that his job was to get his students excited about having a voice in the community.
“It's pretty amazing to have some fifth graders recognized by their community for their hard work. The community is proud of them, and I am proud of them,” said Sorency. “Letting the kids have a voice in their community was powerful.”
Other sustainability award winners include the Devinny Elementary Environmental Club in Lakewood, a group of around 50 students who are in grades first through fifth.
The club collected over 150 pounds of items that are hard to recycle like lined food wrappers and used makeup containers. It also collected over 3,000 pounds each of paper and paint products to recycle through an Eco Fair it hosted.
The club sent in squeezable food pouches and foil lined energy bar wrappers to TerraCycle — a recycling company headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey. TerraCycle sent the club $140 for their food pouches and wrappers that was then donated to worldwide environmental causes.
Lindsey Rankin, who heads up the club, said she didn't have to push the club members because they were determined to make a positive impact on the environment.
“I am so excited that so many of the kids seem to be passionate about (sustainability). (The sustainability award) helps encourage them to take it further and carry it forward as they move on in their lives,” said Rankin.
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