3 Ways NY Restaurants are Going Green

August 14, 2018

By Lori Melton

New York is known for its vast array of delicious, critically-acclaimed, culturally-infused cuisine, which is served at some of the best restaurants in the country. Many eateries have joined in statewide sustainability initiatives and have made a strong effort to go green in multiple areas of their business, from composting food waste to cultivating their own vegetables. Here’s a look at three ways eco-conscious restaurants in New York are going green.

Serving Locally-Sourced Organic Food from Farms and Rooftop Gardens

The popular farm-to-table push in New York’s restaurant scene creates menus filled with dishes curated from locally-sourced farms or their own rooftop gardens. Using locally-grown ingredients helps reduce the carbon footprint involved with shipping and transporting food; plus, organic food is healthier to consume because it’s chemical and pesticide-free.

Blue Hill in Greenwich Village is known for sourcing most of its menu from its world-renowned Blue Hill at Stone Barns farm and other locally-sourced farmers who supply the menu with sustainable items. Forest Harvest Farm in Petersham, Maryland, for instance, supplies Blue Hill with naturally-grown mushrooms. Roberta’s Pizza in Bushwick also prepares mouth-watering pizza with ingredients grown on their roof. These are just two examples of scores of NY restaurants that are committed to serving sustainable, locally-grown food.

Reducing and Recycling Food Waste

Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a mandate through the New York City Department of Sanitation back in 2015 in which hotel restaurants at establishments with more than 150 rooms, sports arenas and food wholesalers are required to recycle their food waste. The businesses must separate food waste from trash and send it to a company to compost or reuse, or compost it themselves on site.

As of August 2018, the directive has expanded to include large restaurants (with 15,000 square feet of floor space or more) and chain restaurants operating under common ownership with more than 100 locations in the city. Because food scraps and other organic waste account for more than one-third of all commercial waste in New York City, the new rules are expected to prevent about 50,000 tons of food waste from being deposited at landfills annually.

Conserving Water by Installing Flow Restrictors on Faucets and Toilets

Water is a critical, life-sustaining natural resource. Restaurants can go green by installing flow restrictors on faucets at dish sinks, hand washing sinks, dish machines and toilets. B.R. Guest restaurants in New York saved 5 million gallons of water a year using flow restrictors.

Frequently checking for sink and toilet leaks and promptly repairing them also helps prevent large amounts of water usage (up to 4,000 gallons per day from leaky toilets alone) generated by leaks. And, high-efficiency toilets use about 1.28 gallons of water per flush, versus older toilets which use 3.5 to 5 gallons per flush.