North York Restaurants: How to go Green
How can restaurants be more green? Its easier than many people think.
- Source locally & seasonally
Buy meats, vegetables and fruits from local growers and suppliers. The 100 Mile Diet is possible in many communities, and even for much of the year. Some restaurants even grow their own herb gardens to ensure and fresh year-round supply.
- Use Organic
Use organic ingredients in your dishes and your baked goods. Organic farming is not only better for the environment, but the ingredients have better flavour and better nutrition.
- Use Fair Trade Coffee
Using fair trade and/or organic coffee is not only good for the environment, the lives of the coffee plantation workers and owners, but is better tasting, too.
- Use green cleaning products
Using non-toxic cleaning supplies creates a non-toxic kitchen, bathroom and dining area, and reduces the impact on municipal water treatment plants.
Recyclables include bottles, cans and paper can be collected and hauled away by recyclers (though the economics for paper sometimes appears marginal). Cooking oils are commonly recycled by many restaurants.
Vegetable wastes & scraps from cooking and from guest plates can be composted. If your location (say, in an office building or mall) does not permit composting yourself, inquire if you can stream compostable waste to a municipal facility
- Use Recycled
Recycled paper for things like menus and mail-out flyers reduces the need for trees from our forests.
- Use biodegradable Packaging
There are cellulose-based cutlery, cups and plates for take-out that breakdown over just months in the landfill, instead of over decades like traditional plastic options.
- Alternate power.
Adding solar power can significantly reduce power costs and net energy consumption, but in some buildings this may not be an option. In come areas you can choose to buy green energy (Bullfrog Power provides wind power generated electricity to a number of Calgary area restaurants, for example)
- Look at Energy-saving Technologies
Use Energy Star appliances for refrigeration, cooking and baking. There are many new energy-efficient designs that are available. If you are looking at replacing an appliance, look at more efficient versions to reduce your energy consumption and power bill.
Once a restaurant implements any of these approaches, they can benefit by telling their customers about the steps taken to be eco-friendly. Include the information on your menus, mention it in your media releases, and talk about the steps taken with reporters and your clientelle.