Restaurants are an integral part of Virginia’s tourism industry, and they are certainly the most numerous sector of Virginia tourism! As such, Virginia Green Restaurants have the opportunity to have a significant impact on people’s daily lives and how they think about the environment.
What does it take to be a Virginia Green Restaurant? At a minimum, facilities must commit to:
- Minimize the use of disposable food service products: Restaurants are required to minimize the use of disposable food service products and maximize the use of food service products that are recyclable or compostable in the service area. When disposable food service items are used, Restaurants are encouraged to use products that are made from bio-based or renewable resources, and to provide for the collection/ recycling/ composting of food service items disposed of on the premises.
- Recycle Grease: Most restaurants are required by local ordinance to collect and recycle their grease. Grease filtering companies can also greatly reduce grease wastes (and costs).
- Recycle and Reduce Waste: Glass bottles must be recycled for Virginia Green Restaurants. Recycling of steel cans, aluminum cans, cardboard, plastic, paper, and composting of waste foods are highly encouraged.
- Use Water Efficiently: The facility must have a plan for conserving water that should consider water-saving dishwashers, faucets, and toilets; leak detection, and an effective landscape watering plan.
- Conserve Energy: The facility must have a plan in place to reduce overall energy consumption. The “plan” should consider replacing lighting and equipment with energy-efficient alternatives such as compact-fluorescent lighting, LED Exit signs, lighting sensors, efficient heating and cooling, and ENERGY STAR kitchen appliances and computers.