Sustainability Matters

The PizzaPlex team is committed to protecting people, planet, and community wealth as part of our mission. We do this by following a set of operational guidelines for environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

Available to the public:

Our sustainability plan focuses on:


Report all observed water leaks to management immediately for repairs
Turn off water faucets when not in use
Install water-efficient appliances
Avoid purchasing bottled water (Detroit tap water is safe and healthy to drink).
Replace all water fixtures with low-flow options or aerators (this reduces the volume of water flowing from fixtures)
Encourage employees to finish water in glasses rather than throwing down the drain, or use leftover water to water plants
Advocate for water rights: Openly show and state solidarity with the fact that water is a human right.

Waste Management

1. REDUCE. The less PizzaPlex buys, the more money the business saves and the more resources are available on the planet to use towards other meaningful applications. If there’s no alternative to purchasing a product for the business, always opt for an item that can be reused (rather than destined for disposal). While we do buy “disposable” cutlery, for example, for our to-go customers, this cutlery can be composted.
2. REUSE. Before throwing away an item, consider if it can be used for something (anything) else. With a little cleaning (making sure not to waste water in the process) and creative thinking, items that we might throw away can be usefully applied elsewhere. This doesn’t apply exclusively to our kitchen or food-related products; we also use both sides of our paper or use cloth towels to dry our hands rather than using new paper towels.
3. RECYCLE. We aim for zero waste! What does this mean? Everything the business buys or possesses contributes towards a closed “loop:” nothing we buy or obtain goes to trash and can be transformed into something else in a new life. PizzaPlex does this by recycling all recyclable materials (e.g. plastics, metals, glass, clean cardboard, paper) and avoiding non-recyclable materials.
4. COMPOST. Our food scraps and customers’ food scraps go into our compost bin, which is transformed into rich earth. All other compostable materials (e.g. wood, dirty paper napkins or paper towels, soiled cardboard, compostable cutlery and wares) can also go to the composting bin. NO GLASS IN THE COMPOST BIN, PLEASE. CUSTOMERS AND NEIGHBORS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME TO BRING THEIR COMPOSTABLE PRODUCTS TO PIZZAPLEX.


1. USE LESS. By reducing the number of appliances or light fixtures that draw energy from fossil fuels, we reduce our negative environmental impact and save money on our bills. Consider keeping the thermostat heating and cooling temperatures a bit higher and lower, respectively, and bundle or dress appropriately to be cooler or warmer inside as needed.
2. USE EFFICIENTLY. When appliances or energy draw is needed, use EnergyStar-certified equipment — these are the most energy efficient products available. Install LED bulbs because they use the least amount of energy. When appliances are not in use, unplug them (they can still draw energy from the grid even if they are off). When no one is in a room, turn off the light. Always use appliances in ranges for which their use is optimized (for example, don’t leave refrigerator doors open or change settings on appliances).
3. WEATHERIZE AND SEAL. Buildings can consume a lot of energy; when there are leaks or openings in a building that can let hot air out when heating or hot air in when cooling, this leads to energy waste. Always close doors and windows if the heating and cooling systems are on. Make sure cracks or openings in walls or around windows and doors are sealed.
4. MAINTAIN THE BUILDING AND EQUIPMENT. Sometimes, using older, broken, or poorly maintained equipment can lead to energy waste. Clean refrigerator coils or replace air filters as needed (just like in a car!) to make sure the equipment lasts longer and is used more efficiently over time.

Supply Chain

PizzaPlex is a community pizzeria and espresso bar. As such, our business has an inherent responsibility to source and use food responsibly (and prepare food deliciously!). A few key concepts drive PizzaPlex’s Sustainability Quest in the food industry. First, PizzaPlex seeks to contribute towards a system that achieves food security for nearby communities through localism.

When do we achieve Food Security? According to the Detroit Black Food Security Network (DBCFSN), this occurs when all of the members of a community have easy access to adequate amounts of affordable, nutritious, culturally appropriate food. DBCFSN has contributed significantly to changing the local and national discourse on creating racial justice and equity in the food system.

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) recognizes that “Localism is grounded in the belief that relationships matter, most. The way we interact with where we live — who we do business with — how we connect with people, other life, the land — all of it matters. Localism is ultimately about building communities that are healthy, equitable and regenerative — backed by local economies that are stronger and more resilient. It means we use regional resources to meet our needs — reconnecting eaters with farmers, investors with entrepreneurs, and business owners with the communities and natural places on which they depend. It recognizes that we’re all in this together, and that we are all better off, when we are all better off.”

PizzaPlex subscribes to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies’ (BALLE) Local Economy Framework principles to achieve a sustainable supply chain. These principles are:
1. Act local first
The path to quality jobs, deeper connection and wealth-building for more neighbors is tied to the number and diversity of locally-owned businesses in a community. Support local production for local needs, celebrate the unique, and choose locally owned businesses first.
2. Prioritize equity
We are all better off, when we are all better off. Build supportive services and infrastructure for the jobless and under-employed, with attention on race and zip code, so everyone can reach their full potential. Align labor, anchor institutions and businesses in creating local economies that work for all
3. Regenerate soil and nature
If the animals, plants, soil and water we depend on are not healthy, our communities cannot be healthy. Apply holistic land management practices, embrace renewable energy and energy-efficient transit, divest from fossil fuels, and use business to restore ecosystems and reverse climate change.
4. Accelerate Collaboration
Coordinated support for entrepreneurs and change makers allows more of us to succeed, more quickly. Foster systems of mutual support for local businesses, and build shared infrastructure and technical assistance to advance collaboration.
5. Share Ownership
When ownership is held broadly, and rooted in community, there is greater resilience. Move economic control from distant corporations to local communities, and choose democratic economic models like worker ownership, land trusts, and the protection of public assets.
6. Shift Capital
Community Capital represents a growing movement of people and institutions keeping more of their money in their community. Invest in community-based businesses, divest from Wall Street, prioritize under-capitalized communities, and champion “living returns” reflecting the real value of healthy, equitable economies.
7. Co-Create Policy
Including all stakeholders in the process of making decisions leads to better, more equitable outcomes. Advocate for policies that level the playing field, particularly for local businesses, those historically oppressed, future generations, and our natural world.
8. Cultivate Connection
Today’s complex crises require a fundamental transition from “me” to “we.” Choose connection, awaken the hearts of entrepreneurs, and align business objectives from growth and transactions, to what we know creates deeper well-being: connection with purpose, community, awe, and compassion.
Finally, PizzaPlex follows an “Environmental and Social Procurement” policy that states:

PizzaPlex L3C commits to:
1. Procure environmentally preferable, local, and socially just products and services where criteria have been established by governmental or other widely recognized, third-party authorities (e.g. Energy Star, EPA Eco Purchasing Guidelines, Detroit-made products, Detroit-based services, Detroit Green Map businesses);
2. Integrate environmental factors into PizzaPlex’s buying decisions where external authorities have not established criteria (e.g. replacing disposables with reusables or recyclables, supporting eco-labelling practices by buying products bearing such labels in preference to others, where they are available and provide value for money, taking into account life cycle costs and benefits, evaluating, as appropriate, the environmental performance of vendors in providing products and services, buying local);
3. Raise staff awareness on the environmental and social justice issues affecting procurement by providing relevant information and training;
4. Encourage suppliers and contractors to offer environmentally preferable products and services at competitive prices (e.g. requesting Detroit-based suppliers to carry green pizza boxes for future purchase);
5. Encourage providers of services to consider environmental impacts of service delivery;
6. Comply with all environmental legislative and regulatory requirements in the procurement of products and services.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed as requiring a department, agency or contractor to procure products that do not perform adequately for their intended use or are not available at a reasonable price in a reasonable period of time.

Procedures and Guidelines may be established as necessary to ensure the continuation of a strong Environmental and Social Procurement Program. “

Employee Engagement

PizzaPlex openly welcomes employee discussion on jobs with meaning, the pursuit of personal happiness and fulfillment, and professional development.
The key to the success of this engagement effort will depend on continuous communication and clear communication pathways. This communication can be conducted in multiple ways:
– Employee input will be sought weekly during staff meetings on all aspects of the business.
– Employees will discuss and document personal career goals with their manager and identify discrete ways to achieve those goals together.
– Employees are always welcome to schedule one-on-one meetings with other PizzaPlex team members.
– Employees will have contact information for the full team to encourage multimedia connections, such as by phone, text, email, or social media, as needed or available for each person.
– PizzaPlex will deploy a semi-annual survey to gauge employee satisfaction with business practices and operations.
– PizzaPlex prizes continuous learning and education. All staff members will develop personal professional development goals that PizzaPlex team members will respect and support. PizzaPlex will support employee professional development goals to the extent practicable within the business’ resources.
Decisions will be reached by consensus.
Employees are encouraged to serve as activists for positive systemic change within the company for themselves, for their communities, or local communities that can benefit from different aspects of PizzaPlex operations.

PizzaPlex maintains the following commitment to its employees:
PizzaPlex seeks to create an environment where employees feel comfortable, confident, and supported in their professional growth. It is only with the strong and unfaltering support of friends, family, community members, employees, and mentors that PizzaPlex even exists. The business wishes to create a culture for employees that returns this commitment to personal and professional growth.

Social Responsibility

PizzaPlex subscribes generally to the “Green Tips” outlined by the Detroit Green Map to function as a socially responsible Detroit business (with tailored exceptions):
Provide multiple on-going incentives or training opportunities to encourage management, employee, and community participation in business sutainability practices.
Annual donations made to local environmental or community-related charities and non-profits, at an amount of more than $50 per full-time employee.
Sustainability Training
Knowledge of sustainability is incorporated into the hiring process, employee orientations, and training programs.
Environmental Values
Environmental values and actions are posted publicly (either online or on premises).
Living Wage and Benefits
– Employees are paid a livable wage.
– Employees have access to benefits including sick days, personal days, health care, as well as parental leave.
Staff CSR and Sustainability Support
PizzaPlex hires a Community Outreach and Sustainability specialist to help the company live by its sustainability plan and engage directly with the business’ neighbors and local organizations.
Shared CSR and Sustainability Services
PizzaPlex promotes public and local business use of its paid sustainability services or activities to promote a greener, healthier, and more socially just neighborhood, city, and world.
Community Service
PizzaPlex seeks opportunities to participate in community service opportunities as a team.
PizzaPlex commits to providing space for community events, meetings, and programming, as determined by local community members and non-profit organizations.

PizzaPlex practices environmental care in virtually all aspects of our operations. For example, we compost all our organic waste – including customers’ food scraps and paper products used in the restaurant. What we cannot compost, we recycle. And before we throw waste into trash, we consider if there are alternative products we can purchase that prevent waste in the first place. The majority of our restaurant waste is composted or recycled.

We purchased all of our tables and seating used. We hand-built our bar from live wood and salvaged pallets. We invite the public to bring us their household organic waste so that we can send it to our organic waste collector, My Green Michigan, on their behalf.

We don’t stop with our day-to-day operations. We are one of the first accounts in the City of Detroit to obtain credit from the water department for Green Infrastructure. Our backyard patio is the site of an infiltration gallery that allows stormwater from our building roof to filter back into the earth, rather than burden our Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system.

PizzaPlex is a member of the Southwest Eco-D collaborative. Our commitment as an Eco-D partner is to provide the small business perspective and serve as a demonstration for environmental, social, cultural, and alternative business models that foster greater equity and positive environmental impact in Southwest. PizzaPlex fulfills this commitment by offering space for public and community engagement, educating stakeholders on business practices and innovation, and co-creating new initiatives to promote equitable distribution of community wealth and environmental leadership.