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Restaurants Go Green

The National Restaurant Association came up with an educational webinar last week reminding restaurants to make use of any programs that they can think of to lower their impact on our natural environment.   Doing so goes beyond being sensitive to our ecosystem’s wail for help, but is being practical as well, as it also benefits the restaurants’ financial performance.

Experts who took part in the webinar sighted several ways to apply sustainability know-how in restaurant operations that would allow them to cut operating costs.  One of this is buying kitchen equipments that merit an Energy Star efficiency rating under a federal program, saying that such equipments allow restaurants to cut their energy use by forty-five percent.  They also advise restaurants to choose water-saving kitchen appliances (like ware washers and steamers) to allow their apron-attired kitchen workers to conserve on water.

Panelists in the webinar stressed that restaurants can easily come up with simple ways to lessen their waste removal, energy and water expenses just by making comparisons of their bills from the water department, waste hauler and utility company.   The one that has the highest cost is where they ought to start.   One good example that was given was waste disposal, where apron-clad restaurant workers were advised to find alternative ways to reduce their trash bill by taking a look at the things they throw the most. If it’s surplus food, then they can perhaps contemplate donating their surplus food to the nearest local charity.

The National Restaurant Association came up with a brand new website, www.RestaurantsConserve.com, to give more concentration on this move.  They designed a Conserve Education and Recognition Program which provides tools and information to help restaurants go green.   Part of their program offers are :  giving out simple online checklists which helps the establishment identify, assess and plan their green procedures;  presenting “how to” videos created by industry experts;  providing online resources like presentations, templates, website links and calculators that can assist restaurants in determining the best methods that are ideal for their operation; and promoting their restaurant in their Green Dining Finder, an online resource for customers who are looking for restaurants that are actively helping  the environment.

Restaurants which participate in the program and promote the efforts in going green get a Conserve decal which they can display in their windows.

Such magnanimous efforts are very timely, indeed, as going green seems to be not an option anymore, but is slowly becoming a necessity.  Headlines about global warming are everywhere – devastating hurricanes in America, snows in midsummer Australia, dry spells and host pipe bans in the UK, or destructive floods and tsunamis in Asia.  It seems that everyone is now compelled to help out.

And all is deeply concerned.  Most people, however, are too caught up with their day to day affairs to actually get involved, no matter how willing, sympathetic or alarmed they are.  It goes without saying that environmental initiatives such as restaurants going green allow uninvolved people to get involved.   With so little effort, people get the chance to ease off the guilt and do their own share.