Green Restaurants

If you’re interested in maintaining a low-impact lifestyle, watch where you eat. The restaurant business is extraordinarily wasteful — of food, water, packaging and most particularly energy. In fact, among commercial businesses, restaurants squander more energy per square foot than any other.

Certified cafe. Eat green.Restaurants that have been certified green by the Green Restaurant Association are a different story. They have made a concerted effort to clean up their act in six key areas of operations — energy, water, disposables, recycling, pollution and food. It’s not a one-time effort either. Each year, they must continue to make improvements to keep their certification.

In addition, they can’t use polystyrene (aka Styrofoam) and must have a full-scale recycling program.

Interestingly, not every certified green restaurant has an obviously sustainable menu. Some could be meeting their minimum sustainable food requirement by purchasing sufficient quantities of organic ingredients (30% of the total) and nothing more. Meanwhile, they could be models of water and energy efficiency in the kitchen. That said, many certified green restaurants are exemplars of fine local, seasonal cooking.

Visit the Green Restaurant Association website to find certified green restaurants and download suggestions cards to leave at your favorite restaurants, encouraging them to go green too.

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One Response to Green Restaurants

  1. Charlie M. November 2, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    What a great idea! I’ve given in-person kudos to restaurants that don’t use polystyrene takeout and tried to wean my company cafeteria off it (with no success but admittedly I didn’t try real hard).

    Anyway I go to the GRA website to see what might be in my area in NY. We’ll leave them nameless here, but there’s a major cooking school up the road a few miles… ONE of their restaurants (they have 4 and a cafe right now) is given two stars by GRA; the others (and presumably their overall teaching facility) aren’t rated at all.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the cooking schools all aligned to at least try to demonstrate ‘greeness’?!