- Lars Lawson
Becky Gonzalez: IRC Recycling Rock Star
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
Celebrate the awesomeness of Becky Gonzalez by donating to the IRC in her honor. Your tax-deductible contribution will help the IRC reach its 30th Anniversary fundraising campaign goal and helps fund our education and advocacy projects – and more.
As a general manager of Bravas Food, Becky Gonzalez is a driving force behind sustainability through all parts of her business. Bravas Food began in 2011 when her brother, Bo, started a specialty hotdog cart on the streets of Fort Wayne. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the brother-sister duo began to work on a food truck concept. Bravas Food’s growth now includes the Bravas Burgers restaurant on Fairfield Avenue, two food trucks, and a hot dog cart.
Bravas buys meat that is raised locally in Fort Wayne. They then butcher, cure, and grind all of their burger meat in house. Additionally, they plan to introduce new vegetarian and vegan options. They currently offer a vegan hotdog and are looking to release a vegan burger.
At Bravas, disposable packaging and materials are only used when necessary. The restaurant originally used styrofoam and one-time-use plastic products. Because of Gonzalez, the restaurant now focuses on more sustainable packaging. Small switches such as using reusable cups and silverware have made a big difference. They even stopped selling bottled water.
“We don’t sell bottled water in our food carts. We take a big 5 gallon jug, and if people bring their own bottle, we’ll fill it up for you for free,” said Gonzalez.
When Bravas does accumulate waste, they go out of their way to recycle and compost. In fact, none of their organic waste gets trashed. It is either composted or given to animals as food.
Additionally, because Gonzalez grew up in a family that recycles, she’s always made it a point to recycle at Bravas. At first, Gonzalez didn’t realize how impactful recycling was for a restaurant. But she noticed that recycling is not common in the food industry. Customers often comment on the restaurant’s recycling initiatives, even telling her that it has carried into their personal lives.
Outside of work, Gonzalez devotes her time to energy and waste reduction public campaigns, striving to educate legislators and the public about sustainability.
“I volunteer with the Sierra Club and their Beyond Coal Campaign. Their goal is to see a transition from coal-fired power to renewable energy,” said Gonzalez. She also uses Instagram to educate the community about important sustainability-related topics.
Currently, sustainability is often ignored in the food industry. Gonzalez pilots new ideas and leads the way for other local business owners to incorporate more sustainable practices.
Written by Joli Finley