Meet our Favorite Eco-Conscious Vendors!

Written by Laura Wolske
    Thursday, 19 December 2019
Meet our Favorite Eco-Conscious Vendors!

Every year around this time the Facility Rentals team at the Urban Ecology Center reflects on how many wonderful clients and vendors we had the opportunity to work with all year long. All of them believed in our mission to help reduce waste and host more sustainable events and we couldn’t be more thankful.

This time of year we are also prepping and planning for Eco I Do Green Wedding Expo which is another way we forward this mission. Guests who attend the event can learn how to host environmentally friendly events from local and eco-friendly caterers, florists, and rental companies. They are also able to try samples, talk with local businesses to find out about their green initiatives, and attend workshops on a variety of ecofriendly wedding topics.

Pour Inc. is one of our sponsors for this event, so we sat down and asked owner Tom Gabert a few questions about what inspired them to partner with the UEC and what motivates them to continue their Eco-Friendly practices.

Why are sustainable business practices important to you?

After the first year of business, I realized how much plastic a mobile bartending business could go through. With our growth, that waste could have doubled if not tripled. With the heavy decline in the health of our planet, I think it is important for everyone and every company to start taking responsibility for the waste they create. Owning a company that has the potential to make a big impact, either negatively or positively, has really made me analyze what business practices we should focus on. It is unfortunate that the negative practices tend to lead to more profitable results and vice versa with the positive practices. However, I believe we have made the right choice in providing services that may be slightly more expensive than our competitors but more conscientious of the Earth’s well-being.

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What do you do to be a sustainable business?

We do numerous things and are always looking to do more!

- Juicing & dehydrating leftover garnishes

- Offering glassware rentals (or UEC glassware) to reduce waste

- Utilizing compostable cups when glassware is not feasible

-  Moving to compostable picks in lieu of plastic picks

- Encouraging clients to opt for kegs instead of bottles or cans of beer

- Offering packages to encourage the use of reusable items/equipment & to eliminate waste/unnecessary travel. For example, purchasing our Bar Essentials package; all the necessary components of bar service in one package to avoid having client’s select single-use products/equipment or wasting time & gas to pick up various necessary items

- Partnering with local companies to reduce the amount of travel for products. We utilize local bitters and offering beers from local Breweries and Distilleries.

Why did you start your business?

Prior to starting Pour Inc. I worked for numerous years in the events industry. I left the industry for a few years and worked as both a commercial press mechanic and as a baker. I told myself if I was ever to get back into events that I would want to work for myself. This led me to start Pour Inc. My vision was to provide a quality service that not only helped create memorable experiences but also educated our clients on the numerous options that they might have thought weren’t possible. I always say, if you want to hire someone to just pour drinks, there are plenty of companies that can help you. If you want to hire someone to help create an experience behind the bar, hire Pour Inc. We don’t just sell bartenders, we sell experiences.

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What is your earliest memory of UEC?

My earliest memory was in college. I was riding my bike and noticed the building (Riverside location). I stopped in and learned about all the amazing educational programs they offered. I also thought it was pretty incredible all the different options of equipment they would lend to their members. It is a beautiful space and piece of land. It is crazy to think that 10+ years later I am helping clients plan their wedding or party here!

Do you have any other advice that you give your couples on how to be sustainable for their wedding?

There are tons of websites, Facebook pages, blogs, resale stores, etc. out there that are of other couples/people selling pieces from their wedding/event. Before buying new, look to these resources! It will save you a lot of money, and make use of items that many people might have just thrown away. Support local companies! There are a ton of great companies that offer phenomenal products that are made right here in Milwaukee. Reach out to them, I am sure they would love to be part of making your wedding more unique and special!

Meet Tom and many other extraordinary Eco-Friendly Vendors during our Eco I Do Green wedding Expo on February 16th from 11-3 pm at Riverside Park. Pre-register here.

Laura Wolske

Laura Wolske

Laura is originally from Columbus, Ohio and spent most of the last 12 years in the Event Industry working​ in Catering, Venue Management and Event Coordination. She decided when she moved to Wisconsin to combine her love of events with her love of nature and was lucky to find such a job at the Urban Ecology Center. She loves hiking and camping with her husband and pup and will always be down for a game night with family or friends. 



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