No doubt about it: It’s easy to pass off “green” as some buzzword, and “going green” as a vague sort of bandwagon. But when we’re talking about environmental awareness, sustainability, and taking actionable steps to limit our ecological footprint for the good of humankind and the rest of the planet—well, a green approach is very much something to aspire to.
More and more restaurants are going green, a positive trend that can have a massive impact given the size and scale of the dining industry. Here at V & E Restaurant Group, we’re undergoing the same process, exploring ways large and small we can lighten our environmental impact.
A Greener Approach: Our Plastic Straw Policy
For instance, we’ve recently implemented a policy of not dispensing plastic straws by default in our eateries—one of those seemingly small steps that, given how many plastic straws might be given out in a day otherwise, and how increasingly overloaded the global environment is with plastic waste, can really ramify. Americans use an average of 500 million plastic straws—enough to circle the planet 2.5 times—and their decomposition can take as long as two centuries.
Ways Restaurants Can Go Green
The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 report by the National Restaurant Association reveals quite a lot of encouraging news, in the process emphasizing some of the surprisingly simple and easy ways restaurants can promote sustainability in their day-to-day operations.
Switching over to energy-efficient appliances and equipment is certainly one important approach. The report suggests eight out of 10 restaurant operators, for example, utilize energy-efficient lighting, and six out of 10 take advantage of programmable thermostats.
Then there’s the issue of food waste, obviously no insignificant factor in the restaurant business. An establishment can cut down on food waste by donating edible leftovers to shelters and other charities, and by incorporating composting into their kitchen routine.
Other green practices include sourcing ingredients locally (which reduces fuel and emission impacts from transportation) and buying supplies and provisions with recyclable or reusable packaging.
Many Diners Place a Premium on Sustainability & Green Restaurant Practices
One illuminating finding from the State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018 results? Roughly half of consumers polled report that the relative sustainability of a restaurant is an important factor influencing their decision to patronize it or not.
Here at V & E, we’re committed to pursuing sustainable practices, as our plastic-straw policy attests to, and we’re always looking at ways to improve! After all, we’ve only got one Planet Earth, right?