Choose recyclable and recycled products – Recycling reduces the need to extract or harvest virgin resources and reduces the need to buy new landfills or incinerators to deal with ever growing quantities of waste. Hence such products must be chosen Chose rapidly renewable resources – These are resources grown, harvested and replanted on a relatively short rotation compared to trees. They include bamboo and other grasses, cork, soy, hemp and cotton. They also include agricultural waste products such as particle board type panels made with straw instead of wood.
Choose reclaimed wood or FSC certified wood – Salvaged wood taken out of dismantled buildings or other structures such as water tanks and wine barrels must be the first choice of wood to be used in the restaurant. Where possible, use wood certified by Forest Stewardship Council, FSC, an independent international organization that has established voluntary standard for responsible forestry management. Also do not buy tropical hardwoods unless FSC certified. Avoid using hazardous materials – This means the lead based paint, asbestos and radon must be avoided.
Keep pollutants out of the restaurant – Avoid building materials, finishes, and furnishings that emit noxious chemicals such as formaldehyde. Use zero or very low VOC paints, stains,. , finishes and glues. Avoid Polyvinyl chloride PVC products is possible and do not use pesticides inside the kitchen Buy local products – They lust be given preference since it would reduce transportation energy and also supports organic products and local enterprises in turn. The figure below shows some of the popular equipment certification organizations
Figure – 2 Energy saving equipment certification bodies (Roberts, Svendsen, 2006, p. 23) Public health issues In the developed word, foods has increasingly become processed and removed from its origins, and cut loose from its cultural moorings. The United States continues setting records for obesity and diabetes, and as the American lifestyle spreads, so do American dietary patterns, and the resultant health problems. As the awareness of this epidemic has increased, the opportunity for change has also increased simultaneously.
The food that is eaten effects the environment as well as individual health. How food is produced has changed rapidly in the last 100 years, with farms becoming progressively larger, more industrialized, more reliant on chemicals and fertilizers, and ever more removed form natural systems. Farm chemicals filter though ecosystems, water supplies and food, causing problems at many levels. Conventional agriculture and the food distribution systems are also heavily dependent on fossil fuels and contribute to pollution and climate change (Croston 2008, p.190-191).
Farmers and entrepreneurs working at every stage of the supply chain are now working to change how food is grown and delivered to reduce it environmental impact. Some conventionally grown produce has been demonstrated to contain significant residues of chemical pesticides and other chemicals that consumers would not know on their own, leaving them to mistrust inspectors and regulators to ensure the food is safe. Meanwhile the FDA has finds to inspect only a small portion of food and is hard pressed to find hazards before they reach the market.
Green restaurants can have test kits either bought or designed according to their requirements to check on such health hazards (Croston? 2008, p. 191). Food consumption trends The greening of food supply is confirmed by the rapid growth in the sales of organic foods. According to the US Department of Agriculture, USDA, the acreage in United States growing organic food increased 40% from2000 to 2005, and sales of organic food have grown between 15 and 21 percent a year. The reduced figures of sales are because much of the organic food is imported.
The growth in organics and the willingness of people to pay more for organic foods, indicate that consumers are more concerned about how food is affecting their bodies and also our plant (Croston? 2008, p. 192). Local Sourcing The food in the local grocery store as well as the one which the restaurants buy has usually traveled a long way. Produce is usually transported across the country and even globally traveling between 1500 to 2500 miles on average in the United States, and sometimes much farther. The types of food grown are usually selected as much for their durability in transportation as doe their nutritional value or taste.
To withstand the journey, produce is often picked before it is ripe and then ripened at its destination using artificial means, such a gassing with the plant hormone ethylene. The result can be food that is not the best tasting or the most nutritious. Also the transporting of foods over such long distances burns fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. Purchasing local food is a green business answer that hits home (Croston? 2008, p. 193). Buying local produce has rapidly developed into a major trend. The growth in farmers’ markets is one sign of this trend.
According to the FDA, the number of farmers’ markets has grown from 7155 in 1994 to 4385 in 2006. The food at farmers’ markets reflects the changing seasons, and is quite varied as compared with larger grocery stores. The food is not processed and is picked ripe. For vendors, chiefly restaurant owners, this presents an opportunity to purchase food at lower price since the farmers’ markets cut down costs both due to the transportation costs as well as the middlemen. With small scale local food distribution the trip from farm to market and in turn the restaurant can be measure din hours rather than days resulting in higher quality (Croston2008, p. 195).
Organic produce was at one time synonymous with local food grown by small farmers, but as such food has grown in popularity it has also scaled up and has become industrialized and resembles in some ways to the non-organic food system. Hence the bulk requirements of the restaurants can also be taken care by the farm produce. Restaurants need to be extremely careful of the purchases as just being organic does not solve all the problems automatically. The produce also needs to be checked for quality and the internal storage is just as important.