Go green by grubbing at a certified green restaurant

As times get busier and busier people, even those who do all they can to go green, are more apt to eating out than finding the time to hit the grocery store and come home to make a family meal.  The restaurant business, and fast food industry too, is a booming one, on the rise, and so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they are leading the way in terms of electric usage among retail markets, at least the United States.  Add to that they will also burn through over 300,000 gallons of water annually and create a wast or 100,000 pounds that makes it way to landfills and garbage deposits.  These numbers will vary for other nations but you can expect that there are many that fall along similar lines.  And thus it seems that targeting this industry is a great start in creating a more green business trend and as ethical consumers it is something we should work to promote.

This is the concept behind the Green Restaurant Association, a grass roots, non-profit organization headed by Michael Oshman in the US.  Oshman urges business owners to go green and adopt more energy efficient and sustainable habits; thankfully he is happy to see that interest is growing with the list of both chains and single restaurants adding their names to the list of being certified member of the GRA.  Gaining certification requires passing through five steps that include: an audit to pinpoint which green habits are already being done and places for improvement, working with the GPA to then modify in the places most lacking in sustainability, ongoing audits to ensure that these green goals are being met, initial certification, and then continued follow-up to make sure that restaurants are still using the newly implanted ethical consumption habits.  The GPA stresses that change is sometimes slow, it is a process and that managers fall across a wide scale of how willing they are to change right away, "Some of our members have a strong sense of urgency and are driven to achieve sustainability leadership in their market segment.  Others are not ready for certification, but they do want to learn more, try some of the products or suppliers we recommend and begin the process," notes Oshman.  The GPA is then open to any and all who show interest.

The is true on an individual basis as well, as there are those that are already well on the path to go green and are excellent ethical consumers.  Similarly there are those just starting out on the means to improving their current habits, but the fact that there is a piqued interest is enough to show promise.  A monumental task as large as hitting some of the energy goals and sustainability goals proposed by varying nations and organizations will take time and also people united.  In terms of getting restaurants to adopt more ethical consumption practices, the GPA is one such party looking to supply the necessary information to owners and businesses.  It also strives to tie in other markets, as working together is the best way to achieve things, by collaborating between both restaurants and vendors, waste management companies, and even suppliers.  This way each wasteful element is tackled head on and from every possible angle.

The word of the GPA is also spreading fast and they also have connects among the media to spread the go green word even further.  This means that should you be interested in the cause you can partake in a variety of facets; be it restaurant owner, manufacturer, distributor, or ethical diner by going to their website: http://www.envirolink.org/external.html?www=http%3A//www.dinegreen.com&i....  So the next time you get the urge to head out to eat, make sure that it is at a place that is a member of the GPA so that you know they are adopting greener habits and working to preserve the environment.  Should they not be certified perhaps suggest they do, as part of being an ethical consumer is passing along a great tip when you find one!

Photo credit: Devine in the Daily