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Restaurants

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La Cucaracha Restaurante is a Mexican restaurant in Saint Pauls’ historic Crocus Hill neighborhood.

Challenge

Nina Turner, owner of La Cucaracha, was interested in finding ways to reduce waste and improve recycling at their restaurant. One of our Recycling Experts visited La Cucaracha to learn about their existing recycling. They discovered that La Cucaracha was only collecting cardboard. Expanding their recycling to a single-sort system would allow the restaurant to capture a lot more recyclable material.

As is the case with most restaurants, a lot of the trash volume at La Cucaracha was food scraps and other organics that could be collected for composting. Getting the organics out of the trash can save a lot of money, since trash service is taxed at 70% in Ramsey County, but recycling and organics recycling services are not taxed.

How We Helped

After assessing the waste stream at La Cucaracha and determining some easy places to make improvements, our Recycling Expert helped Turner apply for a BizRecycling grant to help make some of the changes a reality.

La Cucaracha decided not only to expand their existing recycling and add organics recycling, but also to switch to compostable to-go supplies, including drinking straws. BizRecycling grant funding allowed La Cucaracha to purchase new recycling containers and a can crusher to help optimize space in their recycling dumpster. There was also funding to pay for the first six months’ worth of compostable to-go supplies and compostable bags for their organics collection.

Our Recycling Expert conducted training sessions to make sure that La Cucaracha’s staff were prepared to recycle better.

Outcome

Thanks to their improved recycling and organics collection, La Cucaracha was able to cut their trash volume in half. They are diverting over two tons of single-sort recycling and 15 tons of organic material from landfills every year. They are also saving $4,800 a year on their trash bill!

Turner told us, “Before we started this program, throwing things away was mindless. Now our staff is more aware of where things go and it helped us to reduce our trash.”

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