Earth Day: How the Long Center & H-E-B Show It’s Easy to Be Green

Happy (early) Earth Day, earthlings! As a nonprofit that’s nestled deep in the heart of downtown, going green is a cause near and dear to us. The Long Center is smack dab in the middle of parkland after all! Which is what makes our partnership with H-E-B so special; we both work really hard to be good stewards of what we have. So we’re teaming up with your favorite local grocer during Earth Month to show you that it’s not too hard to be a little greener.

This Earth Day, April 22,  swing by your local H-E-B after 1pm for a chance to pick up a free reusable bag! This year’s bag will feature Big Bend Ranch State Park in Terlingua, Texas. Since 2008 (the same year the LC opened!), H-E-B has given customers more than three million reusable bags in commemoration of Earth Day.

Even though we all try hard to steer clear of plastic bags, sometimes you just can’t avoid them. But don’t worry; H-E-B’s got a plan for that! When you swing by your local grocer, look for a plastic bag drop off location. Every store should have one. But what if I’m a curbside customer?? Glad you asked! Just bundle your plastics together and leave them in your trunk. An H-E-B Partner will take them when they load up your groceries!

Drop your plastic bags off at a recycling station just like this one ☝️

And they don’t stop there. You know how they say the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago? Well, H-E-B is working hard to make sure the next generation doesn’t have to think that too many times. Through their Trees for Texans initiative, H-E-B has planted over 160,000 trees near Texas schools, communities, and forests. As trees grow and mature over time, their benefits can be enjoyed generation after generation, creating a life-long legacy of sustainability. 

It’s all wrapped up in Our Texas, Our Future, H-E-B’s massive effort to sure our environment and natural resources are preserved for generations to come. This includes everything from how they source their products (with local farms and growers), to how they manage food waste and recycling efforts, and even investing in renewable energy. Did you know that 19 stores in the Austin area have solar panels?

Over here at the Long Center, we also try to do our part to stay sustainable. When you walk up to our building, you’ll probably notice a few little islands of plants. All those flowers and grasses are actually Texas natives! Landscaping with native plants helps us use less water while also attracting local pollinators.

But our biggest point of sustainability goes alllll the way back to when the Long Center was being constructed. 95% of the materials used to build the Long Center were actually reused from the Palmer Auditorium. The Ring Beam used to be the anchoring structure of the Palmer Auditorium. Now it frames that gorgeous Austin skyline. So when they say that nonprofits are scrappy, they’re not kidding.

Native plants outside the Long Center help us use less water while supporting local pollinators.

And the green tiles that now frame the H-E-B Terrace were reused from the dome of the Palmer Auditorium. You can even see some dents in them from when Austin experienced a nasty hail storm! For an up-close look, take a peek at the elevator walls 😉

The green tiles from the Palmer Auditorium roof now line the outside of the H-E-B Terrace at the Long Center.

H-E-B is at loads of Long Center events! You probably caught them at our National Geographic Speaker Series last year, or maybe at The Drop-In or Teresa Lozano Long Community Day. Whatever event you see them at next, we bet they’d love to talk to you more about their sustainability efforts and what you can do to help.

Whether it’s avoiding single-use plastic, planting native flowers, or upcycling, when we all do the small and simple things, great things happen! This Earth Day, start by grabbing a new (free!) reusable bag from your local H-E-B, then let inspiration take it from there 🌎 


At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

Share this Post
Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone


Become a LC member today and and get first dibs on RSVP before the public, early entrance into the venue for you and your guests, members-only bars, and other surprises!

Amplify Austin is here – and we need your help to provide free arts experiences for K-12 students through our Long Reach for the Arts program.  Because the kids need art!