This year, the city has introduced major efforts to reduce food waste in New York City. For example, Mayor Bloomberg got over a hundred restaurants to participate in the Food Waste Challenge, and the City Council conducted discussions about residential composting. At a City Hall press conference Tuesday, a nonprofit called Sustainable Restaurant Corps (SRC) announced the launch of their Restaurant Sustainability Survey, which is designed to help New York City restaurants reduce food, water, and energy waste and make sustainable food choices.
Christine Black, the founder of Sustainable Restaurant Corps, hopes that restaurants will complete the voluntary survey. “The survey will help us understand what restaurants are doing or may not be doing,” she said to the crowd. The data will be used to address the challenges that restaurants face and tailor the nonprofit’s services neighborhood by neighborhood.
Being sustainable makes for good business, Black added, since it can help restaurants save 20-30% off of their monthly utility bill. Thus far, SRC has sent the survey to more than 500 restaurants in the city, with questions such as, “How much organic food do you serve?” and “Have you had an energy audit?” The nonprofit plans to develop a sustainability rating system and set basic, voluntary guidelines that any restaurant can achieve. The SRC will also introduce green products and services to restaurants, such as T&S Brass and Bronze Works and the EnviroPure organic waste disposal system.
Democratic mayoral candidate Sal F. Albanese supports the SRC’s plans, calling it a “great start.” “I want a zero waste New York City,” he said. Council Member Gale Brewer, who is a candidate for Manhattan Borough President, agrees. “There’s been a lot of talk on how to be green, but not a lot of people are stepping up to the plate to do the work,” she told the crowd. “A survey is a phenomenal way to get information from restaurants to see what’s helpful to them.”
Christine Black has more future plans for her nonprofit organization. “We’re going to have a number of things on our website for restaurants to use,” she told The Daily Meal. The site will show restaurants how to get their sustainability rating, and feature articles and product services that will help them stay green.” She also hopes to “have coaches to focus on each neighborhood to come up with solutions specific to each place” and offer “education workshops and seminars for restaurateurs, to help them implement sustainable practices at restaurants.”
Her plans echo what Council Member Gale Brewer said. “It’s the collaboration, it’s the education— that’s what’s going to make our city green.”