Eating out has significantly grown in popularity, to the point that Americans now spend more money dining out than on groceries. Because of this, it may come as no surprise that the restaurant industry in the U.S. consumes 1/3 of all energy produced in the retail sector and can produce about 100,000 pounds of trash a year. Consumers have more of an impact than ever before while dining out, and luckily there are plenty of ways to dine green.
1. Try Meatless Mondays
Eating lower on the food chain reduces the use of precious resources and lowers greenhouse gas emissions. In terms of the impact on climate change, it’s estimated that livestock management accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, so eating less meat can be one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Skip the straw or the extra appetizer
Reducing a restaurant’s waste while eating out – whether food waste or trash – can seem like it’s a bit out of your control, especially at a sit-down restaurant. But you can reduce your individual waste by only ordering as much food as you can eat or reducing single-use disposable products, such as straws. Simple changes like these can have an impact.
3. Dine green
You may see that a restaurant considers itself “green” or “sustainable” but how can you know if these claims are true? Dine at a Certified Green Restaurant®. These restaurants use a transparent, third party certification process to verify they are using the most sustainable products and processes. Find a Certified Green Restaurant® here.
4. Leave the car at home
Walk, bike, or hop on a bus or train next time you grab a bite to eat. A great way to lower your carbon footprint while dining out is by going to a restaurant that is walkable, easy to bike to, or near public transportation.
The biggest weapon that diners have is their ability to choose. Whether that’s choosing a Certified Green Restaurant®, eating at a restaurant around the block, or choosing menu items low on the food chain, consumers can make a conscious decision to commit to sustainable practices while eating out.