Look for Green Labeled Restaurants

July 5th, 2013 BY Marina Hanes | No Comments

What if you could easily determine whether a restaurant was green? It would probably improve your dining experience and make you feel better about paying for a meal that is healthy and eco-friendly. Well, a Boston-based nonprofit called the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) is helping to inform consumers with regard to environmentally friendly restaurants.

Currently, GRA has certified approximately 700 dining spots in North America, and for a restaurant to go through this certification process, its looking at anywhere from $800 per year. However, the fee is dependent upon the size of the restaurant, number of locations it owns and the length of certification. GRA has been in operation for 20 years, and it’s bringing consumers more information about where they’re eating as well as aiding in reducing the food industry’s environmental impact.

In Texas, the GRA has certified nine restaurants including La Condesa, Snap Kitchen, Barr Mansion and the Pita Pit, which are all located in Austin. So how are these restaurants reducing their impact? Well, in the case of the Pita Pit, the owners have made the transition to biodegradable utensils, low-pressure faucet aerators, a private recycling and locally grown ingredients.

Through the certification process, restaurants can also improve their eco-friendliness along the way. The GRA designates a point and rating system, so if a restaurant starts serving cage-free eggs or converts to a vegetarian or vegan menu, it will win the appropriate amount of points for these efforts.

How do you know if a restaurant has a GRA certification? Well, you can always ask the owner or look on the door. The green certified restaurants often advertise their achievement by placing a sticker on their door.

This green certification not only provides valuable information to health and environmentally concerned customers, but it also challenges the restaurant to change its ways. In order to gain certification and improve their points and rating, restaurants have to adjust their business model. Along with serving delicious and healthy meals for consumers, the restaurant owners also have to be conscious of how they are running their business. Everything from cooking to electricity to trash to cleanup must be more thoughtfully done.

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