Guidelines to Eating Green When Eating Out

Eating out doesn't mean you're powerless to reduce your carbon footprint

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Dining out may not be the most socially-conscious, environmentally-sound practice. After all, you can be more careful about sourcing, cooking practices, composting, and recycling at home. That doesn't mean there aren't things you can do to make eating out more socially conscious.

According to the Green Restaurant Association, 48% of the average American food budget is spent on dining out. Eating at Certified Green Restaurants is one way to dine responsibly. The Green Restaurant Association lists more than 150 restaurants across the country that they've certified as "green." Some of the most interesting and high-profile restaurants might surprise you.

You can also encourage restaurants to be more environmentally conscious. How? Leave comment cards or email them encouraging them to "go green" if they already aren't. Standards they need to comply with include water efficiency, recycling, using sustainable building materials, serving sustainable foods, efficient energy use, disposables, and attention to chemical and pollution reduction.

Not so interested in activism, but want to still be environmentally conscious while dining out? Curious about things that more often than not aren't going to get in the way of your dining experience? Read on for some of the best tips on the web culled from the Green Restaurant Association, Tree Hugger (that's right), and Bon Appétit.


Deciding Where to Eat and Getting There

Transportation: Take public transit, carpool, or walk to dinner.

Support Local Green Restaurants: Find neighborhood restaurants, bakeries, butchers, and markets serving fresh, sustainable, organic food by using sites like