Living in Los Angeles during the ‘Age of Going Green’ has put me in the center of the battle between the sustainable folk and those to get off on using styrofoam (zombie food to go!)
Unfortunately I can’t be too judgemental on the restaurants that haven’t (yet) jumped onto the Green train. Why? Because with the current state of our economy, it is impressive to even have a restaurant that can stay open, let alone transform its entire food and production system to be more environmentally friendly.
What does it mean to be Green?
- Adios to Styrofoam (the biggest offender): Styrofoam is not biodegradable and is filled with toxic chemicals that don’t make the Earth happy.
- Get Rid of Energy Eating Equiptment: Regular refrigerators and other kitchen/cleaning appliances require quite a bit of energy to run. According to Panasonic, the average refridgerator eats up about 1000 kwH of energy per year, but they just introduced a new fridge that boasts a 350 kwH/year energy use. (I am not endorsing the product but that is a pretty impressive reduction.)
Low-Flow Faucets/Flushers: Restaurants consume a ridiculous amount of water, from dishwashing, cooking, and bathrooms. Low-Flow faucets increase the amount of air in the water and ultimately lower consumption. Double flush toilets, well, no more “if it’s pee let it be” rule.
- Sustainable Eating: For a restaurant to be gastronomically green (and not in a way that causes food poisoning) it has to serve foods that come promote the long-term health of the ecosystem: foods from local sources, organics, foods produced with sustainable agriculture (energy/resource conservation), etc.
Consumers want their restaurants to be Eco-friendly these days so they can feel like they are making a small contribution to saving the world with each bite of their lunch. This is easier said than done.
Reading an article in the LA Times, the exec chef from the Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica gives a little perspective on how difficult it truly is for a restaurant to ‘Go-Green”.
It is much easier to go green at home, and much less expensive. But if you are fixed on eating out on a regular basis, http://www.dinegreen.com provides a pretty conclusive link of restaurants around the US that are certifiably Green.
The economy sucks, we all know that, but what would suck even more is UNIVERSAL ECOSYSTEM COLLAPSE!!!!!! (cue dramatic music)