The Living Coast Discovery Center is an interactive educational center and wildlife facility located on the San Diego Bay shoreline in Chula Vista (formerly the Chula Vista Nature Center). Since joining the Green Business Network, they have incorporated many green strategies into their operations, including adopting a sustainability plan as part of their employee handbook.
The Discovery Center hosts school groups to educate children about conservation and sustainability in San Diego Bay. About 120-200 children eat lunch at the Discovery Center’s facility each day, so employees developed a zero waste lunch program encouraging students to compost or recycle their waste. “Educating kids about waste management is important, because it is something that they can learn at a young age and hopefully carry with them the rest of their life,” says Mark Valen, the Horticulturalist for the Discovery Center. “Since implementing the zero waste lunch program, we have been able to cut back significantly on what is sent to the landfill.”
In addition to implementing this waste diversion program, the Discovery Center achieved a significant reduction in their overall waste by replacing paper towels with hand dryers in their bathrooms.
The Discovery Center recognizes not only the environmental benefits of their actions, but the long-term cost savings as well. Saving money is especially important to a non-profit organization. For the future, the Discovery Center is working to build a Green Team of staff members to work together on energy efficiency and long-term sustainability planning.