Beacon Cafe: Keeping Echo Park Beautiful with Sustainable Solutions
ECHO PARK — If you’re looking for a straw to put in your iced coffee, you won’t find it Beacon restaurant and café in Echo Park.
That’s partially due to the plastic straw ban that went into effect in the beginning of October but it’s also because Beacon has made sustainability a top priority.
Josh Estrada, partner and operations manager at Beacon, says they’ve made sustainability a focal point rather than an afterthought.
In 2006 the city allotted $45 million to clean up Echo Park Lake.
After a two-year renovation, the park reopened in 2013 and became an oasis for the community.
“We didn’t want to be the ones that were responsible for all the litter and trash that was going to possibly come from a restaurant. If we’re servicing people in this area, we knew that that was going to be part of the challenge,” said Estrada.
To limit their impact, they use compostable bowls and plates, paper cups, and biodegradable plastic cutlery.
Estrada admits that it hasn’t been easy to find sustainable alternatives to plastic items but it’s been a collaborative process with his vendors and staff.
“One cool idea we had throughout the process with the drinks was pasta stir sticks. We did away with plastic stir sticks completely and just did pasta.”
Estrada and his staff are constantly look for ways to repurpose their waste.
One of the solutions they’ve found is donating used coffee grinds to the community garden across the street.
“We saw this as an opportunity to provide impact and give it to somebody who can make great use of it and repurpose it,” he said.