Actor Adrian Grenier, Starbucks and Sprint were among those honored on Monday night for leading efforts in sustainability.
The 12th Annual Sustainable Design Awards, hosted by Global Green USA, were held in New York to celebrate people and companies who are fighting climate change and improving the environment through creative innovations.
Starbucks received the green building design award for achieving LEED certification for all new company-owned stores from 2010. Director of Environmental Impact Jim Hanna told The Huffington Post that the company was also aiming to make all Starbucks cups recyclable by 2015. "For us to actually consider our cups recyclable ... our customers [must] actually have the opportunity to recycle the cups wherever they dispose of them," he said.
"What we're doing as a company is focusing on building up the infrastructure for recycling city by city around the world," Hanna said, adding that the issue was something that they were trying to solve as an industry by drawing in competitors and discussing it together. He added there are trials in cities like Chicago, where Starbucks is gathering all cups and sending them to a paper mill in Wisconsin that supplies paper products throughout North America. "Eventually we'll be able to print on our napkins that they are made from old Starbucks cups," Hanna said, "and that's really demonstrating that we're actually solving this problem."
Sprint received the product design award from Global Green USA for their latest eco-friendly phone, which is made from 82 percent recyclable materials. It is the first phone in the U.S. to receive platinum certification from Underwriters Laboratories Environment. Steve Elfman, President of Network Operations and Wholesale at Sprint, told HuffPost one of the challenges the company faces with green design is the lack of standards that have been set in the industry.
"At the moment we've only been able to set interim standards," Elfman said, "We try and establish a higher mark for our manufacturers, including the types of chemicals used, the kind of paint that's used and the type of materials used on the inside so it is disposable."
Getting the phones back from customers once they no longer need them is another challenge. "There are 140 million out there that go into landfills," Elfman said. "But we do a buyback program so we can refurbish them, recycle them or just use their parts."
Grenier received the entertainment and design award for his work through SHFT.com, social media and traditional media to communicate and promote eco-friendly lifestyle choices. Fisker Automotive received the corporate design award for exceptional design and sustainability for the Fisker Karma and the organization's commitment to creating the first truly green car company. And Bill McKibben and May Boeve of 350.org received the organization design award for their groundbreaking design of one of the most widespread global grassroots movements in history, and their efforts to raise awareness about climate change.
See photos from the event below: