Tracking the breadcrumbs from the Restaurant Reformer introduction to Nora Pouillon, we find the January 16, 2008 Washington Post article, A Tall Order of Green (Walter Nicholls) discusses Le Pain Quotidien, the first Green Restaurant Association restaurant in the District of Columbia and the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) itself. The DC location is part of a Belgian chain with 28 units across the US. They’re also having trouble finding all the necessary support infrastructure, specifically, a company that will haul away compostable kitchen waste (alert: business opportunity).
Among other environmental effects, the GRA says, the U.S. restaurant industry accounts for one-third of all energy used by retail businesses and is five times as energy-intensive as other retail businesses, including lodging. The group cites studies gathered for Dining Green, a book published by the GRA in 2004, showing that on average, every restaurant meal served produces 1 1/2 pounds of trash. Half of that, the GRA says, is food waste that could be composted.
While not GRA-certified, Chef Nora Pouillon has been in this mode for decades. She is specifically looking for certified organic cotton chef jackets and pants (alert: business opportunity).
Now pursuing GRA-certification, Java Shack in Arlington, VA and Sweetgreen in Georgetown.
Java Shack has managed to cut 1/3rd of its water and 2/3rds of its electric costs. They’ve found a composting option and converted to corn-based coffee cups, but the GRA wants additional steps before certification.
The article also cites Grille Zone in Boston as an example, which manages to produce just half a trash bag of waste while serving an average of 150 customers per day.