Cactus Jack's serving lessons in eco-responsibility

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By Stephen Knapp

Quick! Name an Earth-friendly business in the mountain area. If you said Cactus Jack’s Saloon & Grill, give yourself a green star.

In an industry not often associated with ecological innovation, Cactus Jack’s owners, Gary and Megan Mitchell, are fast transforming their downtown Evergreen watering hole into a model of environmentally conscious efficiency.

“We’re trying to lead by example,” says Megan. “It’s not only great for the community; it saves us money.”

The Mitchells’ launched their eco-campaign shortly after purchasing the business in 2001. A diligent recycler by nature, Megan became increasingly concerned about the volume of waste pouring out the back door.

“The dumpsters were always filled up before trash day, and we had to stack trash on the ground around them,” she says. “We started out recycling glass and cardboard, and it made such a big difference we started recycling plastic, aluminum, paper, pretty much anything you can imagine. The dumpsters never overflowed again.”

Of course, lots of folks hereabouts recycle, but Gary and Megan have risen to a whole new level of environmental conscientiousness, and they’re just getting warmed up. Styrofoam is no longer welcome at Cactus Jack’s, but the door’s always open to the guy who recycles their vegetable oil.

“And most of the products we use now are made with recycled materials,” Megan says. “In many cases, they’re cheaper.”

To conserve electricity, the bathrooms and storage areas are equipped with motion-activated lights, and juice-sipping Energy Smart light bulbs have been installed throughout. Even better, the power they’re conserving is the cleanest kind there is.

“Last year we changed to 100 percent wind power through an offset system. An Xcel employee helped us estimate how much power we use, and we purchase that amount every month. The wind power doesn’t go directly to us because it’s too expensive to bring it up here, but it is purchased and used by Xcel customers. It averages out to about $50 more a month, but we think that’s a small price to pay.”

To learn more about Cactus Jack’s Saloon & Grill and find links to eco-educational sites, visit www.cactusjacksaloon.com.


For the full version of this story, check out future print editions of the Canyon Courier.