With 2,000 restaurants in St. Louis—dozens in University City alone—diners have the luxury of choosing restaurants that reflect their values, especially if their values include sustainability and environmentalism.
A new program called the Green Dining Alliance partners green advocates with restaurants to reduce environmental impact. The program launched in late 2011 with Maplewood’s Schlafly Bottleworks being the first rated restaurant.
Each participating restaurant is graded on a four-star scale. The Pi on Delmar is currently the only University City-area participating restaurant.
It received a three-star overall rating. A breakdown of its score is as follows:
- Recycling and waste reduction — 3 stars
- Water conservation — 3 stars
- Energy conservation — 2 stars
- Sourcing — 2 stars
- Chemical — 2 stars
- Awareness — 3 stars
- Innovation — 2 stars
“We’re really excited to be launching it,” said Cassandra Hage, executive director at St. Louis Earth Day, the group that founded the alliance. “We have our staff members devoted to it now. It seems like there is a lot of interest in the community.”
Some restaurants have employees monitor sustainable efforts. For smaller restaurants that can’t afford to dedicate their staff to sustainability, the Green Day Alliance will evaluate the restaurant’s practices and provide goals and strategies for going green.
“We want to make it really easy for them,” Hage said. “We really want to keep pushing everyone to keep the momentum going.”
Earth Day’s ultimate goal is to set up Green Dining Districts, or areas with several certified restaurants nearby, and to give diners easy access to their scores via a phone application.
Diners who want their local eatery to go green can print up a card to leave behind at restaurants describing the Green Dining Alliance and encouraging them to join the program.
“Your customers are changing—we hope you will change, too!” the card reads.
Hage called the card campaign a “grassroots” marketing effort for the brand-new program.
“We really want to use people’s interest in getting their favorite restaurant to go green as well,” she said.