Boston’s Grille Zone has become the first ‘fast-casual’ restaurant in the US to be certified green by the Green Restaurant Association. The burger restaurant, which opened in June of 2007, follows an eco-focused business model based on a goal of zero-waste and 100% sustainability.
In order to reduce its carbon footprint, Grille Zone uses 100% compostable cups, plates, and cutlery, sources food locally, and utilizes the most energy efficient restaurant equipment available. As a result the restaurant currently produces an average of no more than 15 lbs of waste per day, which fills about one half of a standard 55 gallon trashbag. According to the Green Restaurant Association, the average restaurant produces around 275 lbs of waste each day.
“There are no trashcans in our eating area,” explains restaurant founder Ben Prentice. “We have a compost receptacle and a recycling receptacle; everything a customer needs to ‘throw away’ fits into one or the other. We don’t even own a dumpster.”
“Grille Zone produces as close to zero waste as a restaurant can — and that’s pretty incredible,” said Michael Oshman, Executive Director of the Green Restaurant Association. “There are very few restaurants in the country that can even approach being zero-waste businesses.”
Unlike many green restaurants, however, Grille Zone is far from being vegan or vegetarian. The 25 seat restaurant’s menu features plenty of fresh hamburgers, locally made German style frankfurters, hand cut French Fries, sodas made with real sugar cane and locally baked artisan rolls and buns.
The Green Restaurant Association awards certificates to restaurants based on 11 green criteria, including water conservation, recycling and sustainable food, and as well as providing advice to restaurants on how they can implement further green changes, they also maintain an online database of green restaurants.