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It is probably easier to be eco-conscious when you cook your own food. You can better control the source and packaging of the food you buy. You can manage waste and energy use and you can recycle. However, there are some things you can do to be eco-friendly when eating out.

Consider the source of the food: Try to patronize restaurants that use organic, local, and seasonal products.

Consider that much of the food ordered in restaurants is wasted. Think about how much you really will eat before you order. You might also inquire about the kind of packaging used for take-home containers before ordering or bring your own reusable container to the restaurant to package your extra food.

Avoid restaurants that use lots of wrapping, packaging, disposables, and Styrofoam.

Whenever possible, order tap water instead of bottled water.

Consider eco-friendly travel to the restaurant. Can you walk or ride your bike?

There are currently 5 restaurants in the St. Louis area that have received Green Certification from the Green Restaurant Association. The GRA considers such things as water and energy efficiency, disposables, waste reduction and recycling, and sustainable food and furnishings. To find these restaurants, go to www.dinegreen.com.

Many restaurants have comment cards. Consider suggesting that the restaurant engage in eco-friendly practices. Many restaurants find that they can reduce costs when they manage energy and reduce waste and many diners are glad to know that they are supporting a restaurant that cares about the environment.

Originally posted in jewishinstlouis.org at http://www.jewishinstlouis.org/blog_post.aspx?id=5594

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Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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