Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Truly Green Restaurants

A new Zagat guide will feature New York City's green restaurants. To be released this month, the guide is printed on 100% postconsumer recycled paper.

What's important is that these 35 green NYC restaurants showcased in Zagat are
truly green, certified by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). A nonprofit started in 1990, GRA's certification is the real deal, using a point-based system, ranking food service establishments on seven criteria (click to download pdfs with more details):
  1. Water Efficiency
  2. Waste Reduction and Recycling
  3. Sustainable Furnishings and Building Materials
  4. Sustainable Food
  5. Energy
  6. Disposables
  7. Chemical and Pollution Reduction
Yes, composting is listed under Waste Reduction and Recycling. Under the new rating system, dubbed Green Restaurant 4.0, there are three possible rankings for certified restaurants: Two Stars (minimum of 100 points), Three Stars (minimum of 175 points) and Four Stars ("trailblazers" with a minimum of 470 points).

GRA works in four main sectors: Restaurants and other Food Service Facilities; Manufacturers; Consumers; and Distributors. Unlike a lot of "green washing," where companies capitalize on the popularity of sustainability by marketing superficial green aspects of their business, GRA provides valuable tools, and showcases establishments that are making significant environmental choices.

As part of its consumer outreach, GRA has a search engine for finding certified restaurants across the country. Look for a Certified Green Restaurant!

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