According to the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) the top 5 US cities with the most certified green restaurants are New York (77), Boston (31), Chicago (24), Los Angeles (14), and San Diego (8), but the greenest restaurant in the United States is The Grey Plum in Omaha, NE. Now a green restaurant is not only measured by the organic-ness of its food, a restaurant can be green by making efforts to recycle and conserve energy.
So if you are out for dinner in one of these cities and your waiter doesn’t automatically bring water to your table it may not be due to a lack of service but rather in an effort to conserve clean drinking water. Since 1990 the GRA has been trailblazing environmental awareness, such as reduction of the amount of water wasted in the restaurant industry and certifying restaurants as green based on their performance in seven different categories:
- Water Efficiency
- Waste Reduction and Recycling
- Sustainable Furnishings and Building Materials
- Sustainable Food
- Chemical and Pollution Reduction
Being a Green restaurant is easier than you might think; and the GRA has different levels of certification so that restaurants are able to invest in their “greenness” over time and always encourages improvement. The smallest steps taken by a large group of participants can make a huge impact on the environment, and often times these steps will result in significant saving in the long run.
In the United States there are millions of restaurants and they produce anywhere from 50,000 – 100,000 lbs of garbage annually; 95% of which could be recycled or composted. Also restaurants use approximately five times as much electricity as other retail or office buildings and an average size restaurant will use 300,000 gallons of drinkable water a year. One of the GRA’s main goals is to educate restaurant owners about how much switching over to energy saving light bulbs and fixing that leaky faucet can not only significantly reduce their carbon footprint, but save them money.
Diners usually make decisions about where they dine based on cost, cuisine, and ambiance. How soon will the way a restaurant runs its business affect our decision about where we go out to eat? For a list of restaurants that are certified Green visit the GRA’s website, www.dinegreen.com/ and also find tips on how you can make a difference when you go out to eat.
Does Green Certification factor into your decision about where to eat? Take this poll:
- It IS Easy Being Green: Part 2 – Restaurants Going Green (foodservicewarehouse.com)
- Restaurant Equipment and Supplies Seals and Certifications (foodservicewarehouse.com)
- (Restaurant) Location Is Everything (restrow.wordpress.com)
- Brooklyn’s First Certified Green Chinese Restaurant (treehugger.com)