Support Green with Your Green

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What does the neighborhood favorite burrito chain Boloco have in common with the Harbor View Café of the well-known New England Aquarium? What common trait does swanky Brasserie Joe share with many of Boston University’s dining options?

These restaurants make the world a better place, every day, in little ways.

Thirty restaurants in the Boston area have taken steps to become more eco-friendly and in doing so have earned the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) certification. The certification rewards restaurants and food service operations that meet standards in seven environmental categories; from water efficiency and waste reduction, to sustainable food and chemical reduction. Three primary requirements of the certification program are establishing a recycling program, going Styrofoam free, and continually making improvements year after year.

According to a study conducted by the National Restaurant Association; Americans spend thirty to forty five percent of their food budget on food consumed away from home. And let’s face it; Boston has no shortage of cuisine options. It seems as though as soon as I knock one restaurant off my bucket list, I hear of two more I want to add. So, as socially responsible Boston residents, let’s support socially responsible restaurants.

Here are a couple of restaurants reducing the restaurant industry’s ecological footprint.

BolocoThe first fast-food chain in New England to be Certified Green in 2008. What has Boloco done to make the planet a better place? Boloco’s cups are corn based and the employee uniforms are made of organic cotton. From LED lighting to countertops made of recycled building materials, Boloco uses technology solutions to reduce its environmental footprint. Boloco switched back to recyclable bowls from compostable bamboo fiber bowls due to leaking Teriyaki sauce, but the restaurant chain is on a path to be entirely compostable. Boloco inspires.

The Fireplace: This cozy and delectable Brookline restaurant has a mission to buy from local farmers and fisherman, use what is fresh and in season, and even recycles frying oil to a company that uses the oil for fuel. The restaurant realized a 45% return on investment within one year of aligning with GRA criteria and cut $1,200 off annual operating costs.

Next time you are too tired to cook, need an excuse to avoid the dishes, or are looking to try a new place, use Dine Green to find a restaurant that has demonstrated a commitment to making Boston more sustainable for our generation, and more importantly, for those generations to come. To all restaurants making a conscience choice to go green, certification or not, we applaud you and appreciate the difference you are making in our community. Small steps can create huge change.