Details from the First Summit of Sustainability Awards

by Cindy Pantea

Summit of Sustainability Awards 2012

Founders and sponsors gift made of recyclable glass by Weisenbach Recycled Products. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford)

Founding members: City of Akron, County of Summit, Keep Akron Beautiful, the Greater Akron Chamber and the Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority, were excited for the first Summit of Sustainability Awards (SOSA) program held in The University of Akron Student Union ballroom on Thursday, October 25. It was a sold out event!

This awards program revealed the best sustainable business practices going on within our community and showcased the following winners of the 2012 Summit of Sustainability Awards in the three categories:

  1. Companies with over 250 employees – Bridgestone Americas
  2. Companies with 249 employees or less: Visual Marking Systems, Sustainable Green Printing Partnership
  3. Nonprofit: Akron Zoological Park
Summit of Sustainability Award Winner Bridgestone Americas

Bridgestone Americas accept Summit of Sustainability Award (made of recycled material) in the category: companies with more than 250 employees. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford.)

Winners received a beautiful plaque made out of recyclable materials by Weisenbach Recycled Products and had their pictures taken with Mayor Plusquellic and County of Summit Executive Russell Pry. They also had videos of their sustainability projects, beautifully produced by Steve Felix, shown at the luncheon. Keep checking back with us as we will share the winners’ videos and more.

Kudos to all the other applicants for their sustainable efforts as well: GOJO Industries, Inc., Boy Scouts of America, Akron Children’s Hospital, The Goodwill Industries of Akron Ohio, Inc., Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, Hampton Woods Condominium, Inc., Hattie Larlham, Laurel Lake Retirement Community, Our Lady of the Elms School, Akron Area YMCA, Barrington Carpet & Flooring Design, Hazel Tree Interiors, Involta, Jaco Fridge Recycling LLC, Main Street Gourmet, New Leaf Home Design, OEConnection, Red’s Gourmet Buffet Express / New Adventures Early Learning Center, Samuel Steel Pickling Company, SGS Tool Company, The Totally Cooked Hospitality Group, West Point Market and Ms. Julie’s Kitchen.

Inspiring Words from Elaine Gallagher Adams

SOSA keynote speaker Elaine Gallagher Adams

Summit of Sustainability Awards luncheon keynote speaker Elaine Gallagher Adams. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford.)

At the SOSA luncheon, architect, author and speaker, Elaine Gallagher Adams of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), enthusiastically shared how making just small changes and using out-of-the-box thinking can decrease water waste and increase energy savings for home and business.

For example, being aware of and fixing existing faucet or pipe leaks saves on the water bill and retrofitting an existing structure can provide significant energy savings. In fact, the remanufacturing of the Empire State Building’s existing windows was one case study she used. 

Also, think big! Businesses especially shouldn’t strive for just 17% savings…go for  more!

Read more about the speech by Elaine Gallagher Adams and the event in an article by Beacon Journal staff writer, Bob Downing, at

Thank You from the Founders

Thank you to sponsors:

  • Sustainable Champions – METRO RTA and Sterling Jewelers Inc.
  • Conservation Leaders – Dominion Foundation, FirstEnergy Foundation, The University of Akron, River Valley Paper Company, Smart Business Network Inc., Hasenstab Architects, Inc. and Greenstar Recycling
  • Resource Guardian – Affinity Consultants, Inc.
  • Media Sponsors – The Summit-91.3FM, Smart Business magazine and Lockett Media

Also, thank you to the expert panels of judges: Dr. Nicholas Zingale, Faculty Member, Cleveland State University, Dr. Stacy Willet, Faculty Member, The University of Akron, Sam Rubens, Administrator, Akron Regional Air Quality Management District, Robert Marshall, AIA, Principal, Robert Marshall Architecture and Michele Kilroy, LEED AP, Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the USGBC.

And…thank you to the applicants!

The Summit of Sustainability Awards is a part of Greenprint for Akron which is facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful.


Keep Akron Beautiful - Greenprint for Akron

Helen Dauka, Keep Akron Beautiful Intern, and Jacqui Flaherty, Keep Akron Beautiful Program Manager, sitting at the Keep Akron Beautiful/Greenprint for Akron booth at the SOSA luncheon. Greenprint for Akron is a program facilitated by Keep Akron Beautiful. (Photo by Bruce S. Ford.)





What Type of Flowers Reseed Themselves

by Polly Kaczmarek, Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape Director

Alyssum in Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape

Purple alyssum borders this Keep Akron Beautiful Flowerscape.

Letting annuals reseed in your garden is a great way to fill in spaces and cut down on the expense of buying annual plants every year! The trick is to be aware of new seedlings when preparing your flower beds for planting in early summer. Some seedlings don’t germinate until the soil has warmed up – so be patient! Patches of new seedlings may need to be thinned out  and can be easily moved when they are 2-3” tall. Some varieties that we have had good luck with are the following:

  • Verbena – “Bonariensus” reseeds very readily but other varieties can also reseed
  • Rudbeckia – you may know them as black-eyed susans; however, what you may not know is that there are 23 species of Rudbeckia and even annual or biennial varieties may winter over from plants left in the ground or reseed — we’ve had luck with “Prairie Sun,” “Indian Summer” and “Autumn Colors” varieties
  • Gomphrena
  • Ageratum – especially the taller varieties such as “Blue Horizon”
  • Cleome
  • Nicotiana – especially the taller varieties such as “Sylvestris” “Nicki” and ”Heaven Scent”
  • Alyssum
  • Heleniumwe’ve had luck with Helenium “Dakota Gold”
  • Calendula  – also called pot marigolds
  • Zinnia “Augustifolia”
  • Cosmos
  • Antirrhinum – you may know them as snapdragons  – will sometimes winter over from the plants left in the ground, and also reseeds

These reseeding plants have helped to reduce our overall flower bill. I hope that it will help you too. Happy gardening!

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KAB on 1590 WAKR-AM

by Helen Dauka, Keep Akron Beautiful Intern

Did you tune in to 1590 WAKR-AM  Saturday morning on October 13  to hear Keep Akron Beautiful on the radio?

For those of you who missed the memo or might have just been sleeping in, I joined John Sharp of River Valley Paper Company on the radio show My Beautiful Home to talk about the Recycle Bowl competition. My Beautiful Home on WAKR logo

John and I sat down to chat with the show hosts Andy January and Katheryn DeLong about the benefits of recycling, the importance of getting kids involved and what roles KAB and River Valley Paper Company are playing in these efforts.

Being my first time on the radio, I was a little apprehensive. Everyone at the station was so friendly and helpful though! Before the interview, Andy told me it would be the fastest hour of my life. After all was said and done, I’d have to almost agree with him! Andy and Kathryn were both great hosts, making the interview run seamlessly. I think it sounded like an actual conversation. On par with the hosts, John Sharp can only be described as a natural.

The studio was very crowded that morning. There were probably 4-5 microphones and seven of us trying to share them! In the studio that day were Margie and Ray Toombs, owners of Maid Brigade of Northeast Ohio, Rochelle Fisher, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County and phoning in was Judi Bar, owner of HeartLight Yoga Center n Rocky River Ohio.

Each guest had something green to say! To learn more about the other guests, visit for the recap and links to their websites. Check back to see when the show is posted!

Tune in to 1590 WAKR-AM on Saturdays at 10am to hear MY Beautiful Home.

Thanks again to John, Andy and Kathryn for a fun Saturday morning!

This ComPOST is for the Flowerscape Crew: Thanks and See Ya Next Year

Alexander Park Akron Flowerscape

Alexander Park Akron Flowerscape

By Cindy Pantea

This is the last working day of 2012 for our Flowerscape crew. Thank you to Polly Kaczmarek, Flowerscape Director, Sue Johns, Chuck Grunenwald, and Tim Wilson. Great job on the beautiful Keep Akron Beautiful City Flowerscapes, and we’ll see you in the spring.

Yep, the Flowerscape crew has finished cutting down and clearning out the Flowerscapes, taking 6.53 tons of plant material to KB Compost Services, Inc.


Keep Akron Beautiful Yard Waste for Composting

Keep Akron Beautiful Yard Waste for Composting

We can learn a lot from our Flowerscape crew when it comes to our own flowerbeds. Did you know that grass clippings, plant materials and leaves can naturally put nutrients back into the soil? Don’t throw these in the dump or burn! Rather, save the environment (and your lungs) by mulching or composting for your own yard use. Put around trees and plants to keep weeds down, bring moisture to the soil, and regulate soil temperature.Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for information on composting at

Not ready for a compost pile? Then take your yard waste to a composting facility near you.

Hey Polly, while you’re off, we look forward to you sharing your expertise for our own flower gardens. Stay tuned for a post by Polly in the near future on reseeding plants.

Til soon Flowerscape crew…til soon…