Eco-Friendly Switches for Restaurants

By Emily NeudorfAug 14th, 2014

Being an environmentally-friendly restaurant may seem like a daunting task, but sustainable switches may be more simple than you think. From aesthetically-pleasing fixes to quick changes, here are easy ways to make your restaurant more eco-friendly:

In The Kitchen

There are few things about kitchens that scream energy-saving. Ovens and stoves are energy sink holes, walk-ins can be electricity-sucking behemoths, and the constant cycle of dish washing is hardly a sell for water conservation. But kitchen equipment is expensive, and alternatives may be far away. What changes can be made to help offset some of the bigger energy beasts?

—Biodegradable containers and plastics may not be cheap,  but they are much less expensive than upgrading most kitchen equipment. offers wholesale solutions for restaurateurs searching for eco-friendly supplies. The website houses products like to-go containers, cling wrap, storage bags and more.

—Using locally sourced ingredients comes with a variety of positive results benefiting the environment and beyond. According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), most standard food has traveled about 10,000 miles before hitting a dinner plate. Cut this environmental cost down by offering food created with local ingredients. Local produce also supports a restaurant’s local community by giving money back to farmers in the area.

Mussles at A16 Rockridge

Locally sourced mussels and vegetables at A16 Rockridge restaurant in Oakland, CA

In The Restroom

Outside of the kitchen, restrooms can be some of the most havoc wreaking on the environment. There are a number of easy switches or sustainable changes to promote your eco-friendly mission.

—Switching from paper towels to hand dryers is can prevent post-hand washing paper waste.

—With the looming California drought, water conservation has been on the minds of millions. Help save the precious resource by the installing low-flow toilets for restaurant customer and employee use. New technology can help save restaurateurs money and the environment by cutting water use down by using 1.6 gallons of water per flush compared to up to 7 gallons per flush with normal toilets.

—Purchasing biodegradable soaps and non-toxic cleaners can help prevent releasing chemicals into the environment while also appealing to customers who tend to avoid harsh cleansers.

In the Dining Room

Maven Restaurant

Maven restaurant in San Francisco’s three piece living wall 

Eco-friendly switches don’t have to be an aesthetic burden on a restaurant business. Below are some stylish ways to promote sustainability.

— LED lighting may sound harsh or unappealing, but sites like and are changing the game by offering cool eco-friendly fixtures. The Varaluz ceiling light goes a step further by fashioning the piece from recycled materials in addition to the LED bulb.

— Living walls are beautiful solutions to boost a restaurant’s eco-friendly efforts. In addition to absorbing air pollutants, living walls has the potential to create happier customers.

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