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Dining at a green restaurant

Many people maintain an environmentally friendly diet at home, but when they eat out, they fail to choose a green restaurant. Dining at a green restaurant helps to promote the growth of a sustainable restaurant industry.

Now that there is a heightened interest in environmental issues, many restaurants have discovered that they can attract a loyal customer base by running their business in an environmentally sound way.

To make it easy to identify green restaurants, the Green Restaurant Association determines which restaurants in America and Canada are green enough to be certified. Restaurants that have the certification are likely to advertise the fact.

A green restaurant may have one or all of the following characteristics:

  • serves food that was produced close to the community to reduce energy required for transport
  • serves organic foods
  • is LEED-certified
  • serves small quantities of meat, with more emphasis on vegetables and carbohydrates
  • serves sustainable seafood
  • avoids purchasing foods with excessive packaging
  • avoids buying more food than necessary
  • avoids using foods that are processed using environmentally harmful methods or chemicals
  • avoids using toxic cleaning products
  • avoids using styrofoam, and uses recyclable and biodegrable materials
  • minimizes use of single use disposable items, ie, napkins, cutlery, straws
  • uses energy efficient appliances and practices water and energy conservation
  • practices recycling and donates unused food to charity or has it composted

By supporting green restaurants, you are voting with your money. If green restaurants grow at the expense of other restaurants, eventually a lot more restaurants will go green. At the very least, you should try to minimize dining at fast food restaurants, which tend to be the worst offenders in terms of waste generation, and overall environmental impact.