Our Latest Standard: Restaurants and Food Services, GS-55

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By GS Vice President of Science and Standards

We are very excited to announce that our latest Green Seal Standard, for Restaurants and Food Services, GS-55, was issued on March 12, 2014. It sets the benchmark for eateries that are leaders in sustainability, focusing on the most important life-cycle impacts of the food industry – the sourcing of the food and the waste that is generated from it.
As it turns out that, 95% of the environmental impacts of a restaurant come from the food it purchases, when we consider the full life-cycle of the day-to-day activities of a restaurant.
Where Does The Food Come From? How the food is grown and transported has significant impacts on land use, fertilizer use and run-off, release of greenhouse gases, contamination of waterways, irrigation water use, and more. Local food, and food that is grown responsibly, create much fewer impacts – especially if the restaurant grows its own food on the premises!
Where Does The Food Waste Go? Much of the food waste ends up in landfills, creating unnecessary problems:

  • Landfills take up precious land resources, while incinerators cause air pollution.
  • Food that ends up in landfills is converted into methane (a powerful greenhouse gas).
  • When the food waste is landfilled or incinerated, it can’t be converted into useful resources; composting it will convert it back into healthy nutrients for the soil.

And What Else Should Be Done? The supporting activities of the restaurants can also be managed responsibly:

  • Reducing other forms of waste: avoiding disposable items
  • Keeping oils and grease out of the wastewater systems
  • Conserving energy and water by choosing efficient appliances and fixtures
  • Tracking environmental performance and setting goals

Our new standard offers the opportunity to easily identify leading restaurants and food services who are committed to sustainability and have chosen to be held accountable by Green Seal.
Congratulations to all of our certified restaurants, and Welcome to all of our new applicants!

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