Story by Zoe Schlaak and Ellie Campbell
Photos by Katelyn Hernandez
The South Pasadena City Council awarded local business owner Michelle Hammond the Green Business Leaders Recognition Certificate, Wednesday Aug. 21, acknowledging Hammond’s green and sustainable practices with her own business: the Munch Company.
Hammond employs many environmentally sustainable processes, aiming to be more environmentally conscious as a business. Hammond composts food prep waste at her cafe, where over 75 percent gets composted. She also reuses paper, plastic and cardboard bags and boxes, donating them to farmers market businesses or reusing it herself. Hammond is also a supporter of renewable energy—energy produced from replenishable sources such as wind and water—even before the city council’s decision to make the default power of the city from one-hundred percent renewable energy sources.
“I want to express a special thank you…the reason she’s getting this award is because her business operates with one hundred percent renewable energy,” councilmember Diana Mahmud said.
South Pasadena partners with Clean Power Alliance (CPA), which allows residents to choose where their energy comes from and how much percentage of their energy is renewably sourced or not. However, renewable energy is more expensive for users than non-renewably sourced energy, with one using 100 percent renewable energy would be the most expensive. South Pasadena businesses are encouraged to use 100 percent renewable energy.
The city council has always been a strong supporter of environmental sustainability, with councilmember Diana Mahmud serving as the head chair of multiple foundations, such as the CPA. Councilmember Michael Caccioti launched the Electric Lawn Mower and Leaf Blower Exchange programs in the city, both of which substituted these machines for zero emission equipment. As a result, South Pasadena won the Clean Air Award from the Air Quality Management District in 2017.
Hammond hopes that the city’s focus on environmental sustainability will allow for improvement of environmentally sustainable practices throughout South Pasadena, such as connecting bike lanes to schools to reduce traffic congestion and harmful emissions, as well as having more electric vehicle charging points to encourage electric vehicle purchases. Hammond thinks that if we incorporate these eco-friendly ideas into our city, it could result in a noticeable difference in the improvement of air quality and reduce plastic.
“Almost always when I talk about my own personal and business preferences I’d say they are far from perfect but getting better,” Hammond said. “I hope in the future that we can work with the city to have more ideas like connected bike lanes throughout the city.”