November 20, 2010

Dining out and being green

One of my pet peeves when dining out is being given my leftovers in a styrofoam or hard plastic clamshell "doggie bag" that I know I can't recycle. I always forget to bring my reusable food storage container from home. So the green option is to snarf down all that's on my plate and deal with the extra calories later.

There's a Virginia Green Restaurants program through the state's Department of Enviormental Quality that "promises" some green dining options. But the qualifications look very lenient to me. The program merely encourages restaurants to recycle more than glass and reduce waste. I suppose it's a start, even though it provides an easy "greenwashing" opportunity for some restaurants. But check it out to see the restaurants that applied for this label.

Also check out the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) that for 20 years has been  "certifying" restaurants that take more aggressive steps to be green. One of GRA's standards is "Offer smaller portions, at least 25% smaller, for 50% of entrees at a reduced price." Now that's one goal I can applaud--as well as my waistline Read more about GRA by clicking here. I had a hard time finding Virginia restaurants through their database search tool.

The best option of course is to eat at home, entertain friends and family at home, and eat locally grown foods.