With 2,000 restaurants in St. Louis—dozens in Kirkwood alone—diners have the luxury of choosing restaurants that reflect their values, especially if their values include sustainability and environmentalism.
And now, choosing "green" restaurants is easier than ever. A new program called the Green Dining Alliance partners green advocates with restaurants to reduce environmental impact. Restaurants with high commitments to sustainability become certified alliance members and are graded on a four-star scale.
The Picnic Basket Cafe, the restaurant inside , is one of the latest to join the Green Dining Alliance. They received an overall three-out-of-four star rating, with the following breakdown:
- Overall — 3 stars (out of four)
- Recycling and waste reduction — 3 stars
- Water conservation — 2 stars
- Energy conservation — 4 stars
- Sourcing — 2 stars
- Chemical — 2 stars
- Awareness — 2 stars
- Innovation — 4 stars
If any restaurant wants to improve its ratings, 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,” said Cassandra Hage, executive director at St. Louis Earth Day, the group that founded the alliance. “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.
To see the Green Dining Alliance at work in other Patch.com neighborhoods, check out these stories about and .