It’s Not Easy Being Green
Kermit was right. It’s not easy being green. Going green for a restaurant can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. Insurmountable. You can’t just upgrade all your restaurant equipment to Energy Star models (though it wouldn’t it be awesome if you could) and you can’t train your staff to separate paper and plastic overnight. Going Green takes time and patience. The good news is that a lot of Green measures are easy to implement and won’t break the bank. Here are a few tips that the Green Restaurant Association recommends for Going Green:
- • Get rid of Styrofoam. Styrofoam in most restaurants is found in the form of take out boxes, soup and coffee cups. Get rid of the Styrofoam, which never biodegrades and switch to recycled paper products.
• Install flow restrictors on faucets. A flow restrictor limits the amount of water used in hand washing sinks, on dish machines and dish sinks. B.R. Guests Restaurants, out of NYC, saved 5 million gallons of water a year by installing flow restrictors as part of their Go Green effort.
• Purchase sustainable foods. This means food products which support the long-term maintenance of ecosystems and agriculture for future generations. This includes organic and locally grown foods, both of which reduce use of toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and pollution associated with long distance transportation. So touch base with your local farmers and find out what produce they carry and when.
Other ways to go green include composting and recycling. Composting is not always a practical option for restaurants smack in the middle of a downtown, but recycling can be done most anywhere. According to Christopher Giarrputo, Executive Corporate Chef at B.R. Guests, the key to recycling in a restaurant is to have stations set up in all areas, such as the kitchen, wait station, bar and office. The next important step is training the staff, which can take a little time, but is worth it in the end.
Big Ticket Items To Help You Go Green
If you are looking to open a restaurant and have the capital, or are in need of upgrades, consider purchasing the following items, which help restaurants save energy, money and the environment:
- • Low Flush Toilets
• Energy Star Appliances, such as fryers, steamers, broilers, griddles and ovens.
• Energy Star Refrigeration- These models have better insulation and use almost half as much energy as older models.
• Energy Efficient Ventilation
Find more information about the Green Restaurant Association environmental guidelines .