Ted Turner, media entrepreneur and founder of Ted’s Montana Grill, is a true environmentalist when it comes to helping preserve our planet. Through his recycling efforts, using eco-friendly products, and finding more ways to be energy-efficient in his restaurants, Ted has reached new heights on handling major sustainability issues that the top restaurants across the globe are facing today. One rare, yet interesting concept is protecting the American bison.
What Does Bison Mean to Ted’s Restaurants?
Ted’s restaurants feature bison meat. Ted is helping educate consumers about the bison’s healthy effects, their nutrients, and their environmental benefits. By having more bison meat, Ted is in a sense collaborating with bison ranchers and their environmental efforts of sustainable farming. Bison is a way for people to increase their green efforts. Bison can be served anywhere from the most casual restaurant to black tie events.
Bison is an extremely lean meat, about 1/3 less fat than beef. It’s full of the iron, daily protein, zinc, and the antioxidant selenium that our bodies need. It’s also beneficial for us because it’s grown naturally without growth hormones, drugs, or other chemicals. Bison graze on grass or grains, so there are no preservatives found in their system. It’s a flavorful and sweet tasting meat.
With this said, it’s becoming a more popular meat now. In North America there are about 6,500 private ranches and farms raising bison, with 4500 being in the US alone. According to the National Bison Association, the bison has gone from near extinction at the turn of the century with approximately 1000 bison, to now over 500,000 throughout North America, thanks to the consumer demand and initiatives of bison farmers and ranchers. We now have more pastured land as opposed to farmed land for them to be raised on.
So How Is Bison Apart of Ted’s Restaurants Sustainability Efforts?
Having these pastured lands is actually helping restaurants and farmers with their sustainability efforts. Bison are proving a way for renewable benefits. These former cultivated crop lands are converted to pastured lands for bison to live on, and have many economic and environmental benefits.
Pastured lands are permanently covered in grass and prevent soil erosion. Chemical pesticides and herbicide usage are eliminated. Expenses are brought to a minimal on pastured lands because the expensive harvesting equipment is no longer needed. The non-renewable fossil fuels are also reduced because farmland will no longer need to produce grain or oil seed to run the machinery.
The Recycling Efforts of Ted Turner and His Restaurants
Ted’s restaurants also are looking at their sustainability efforts by recycling glass, steel, plastic, cardboard, and aluminum. In 2010, they recycled more than 370 tons of plastic and averaged 16,000 pounds a year. Their cooking oils are used to create bio-diesel fuel. Ted’s restaurant in Boulder, CO is working with the city to compost all their food residuals.
The Everyday Strives Towards Being Energy Efficient
Ted’s restaurants strive daily towards being energy and cost efficient. For example, they only use energy-efficient, low-voltage lighting in the restaurants. Although a more expensive purchase initially, it does save the company in KW hours annually.
They have also focused on the use of solar power by installing solar paneling to supply their energy needs. They currently use this technology in their Tallahassee, FL and Atlanta, GA locations. Finally, they use sustainable materials such as sustainable insulation products, recycled building materials, and bamboo flooring in their new and existing buildings.
The Reduction of Plastic throughout Ted’s Restaurants
Being 90 percent plastic free, is a high, yet attainable goal of Ted’s restaurants. This is being shown by using recycled paper for menus and other printed materials. Their drinking straws are made with an eco-friendly polymer coated paper. Their to-go ware and cups are made with eco-friendly substances. Many of their eco-products are made of organics such as cornstarch and soybean oil. They also focus on recyclable products rather than materials to be washed, so they may reduce detergent use.
The Eco-Friendly Features of Ted Turner’s Restaurants
Finally, Ted Turner’s restaurants focus on being eco-friendly throughout the entire restaurant, helping employees and customers become environmentally aware. There are water-efficient toilets, biodegradable hand soaps, and they use paperless applications. They even use griddle cook tops to lower the amount of grease that accumulates into the air.
Ted Turner is a strong advocate for renewable energy and conserving our planet’s future. Aside from his efforts with Ted’s Montana Grill, he also has five foundations focused on solving the world’s most pressing issues. These foundations include the Nuclear Threat Initiative, United Nations Foundation, the Turner Endangered Species Fund, the Captain Planet Foundation, and the Turner Foundation. In Turners growing efforts to maintain the bison population and provide ecological sustainability, Turner has approximately two million acres of ranch land and manages over 55,000 bison, which is the largest private herd in the world.
(image:Ted’s Montana Grill)