Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Green Dining

By Archive, February 5, 2008  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Archive
Most of us try to be green at home by Reducing, Reusing and Recycling, but taking that attitude with you when you leave the house can have a much larger impact. Green dining is one example. Restaurants account for one third of all retail electrical consumption, according to the non-profit Green Restaurant Association. They publish an online guide that currently lists green-minded restaurants and cafes in 28 states. By patronizing restaurants and other businesses with a green conscience, we make a statement that reverberates beyond our immediate community.
Category: Green Action




Mia says ...
I don’t know why WF makes such a show of being green on the one hand and participates in such wasteful practices on the other hand. It used to be that a credit would be issued on a small slip of paper now they will give you a plastic card while at once bragging about how the store intends to be free of plastic bags by this spring. Sort of ironic. Then there is what appears to be the official way that employees bag items, namely glass jars. For whatever reason they will always place a glass jar in a paper bag so if you have multiple jars instead of putting them in separate bags they put each into a paper bag. What’s worse is when you have only one jar and they place it in a paper bag. It is so useless and wasteful and I don’t appreciate having to throw the bag away when I get home. No other store does this BS and yet I have never had a problem with broken jars anywhere else. I think all this green talk is just for marketing reasons, to give the store some upscale feel of conscientious shopping. In fact Whole Foods is the MOST wasteful store in terms of its use of bags and plastic. Please invest in REAL changes and not just cosmetic BS. thanks
02/06/2008 12:09:02 PM CST
Joyful Susan says ...
A friend of mine gave me To-GoWare for Christmas. It is a beautiful set of wooden spoon, knife, fork and chopsticks in a lovely fabric bag. I now use it to eat the lunches I bring to work instead of the plasticware provided by my company. I have also started bringing cloth napkins instead of using paper. I have given two sets of To-GoWare to friends for their birthdays as well. To-GoWare.com
02/07/2008 8:38:55 AM CST
Samantha says ...
I always have a Nalgene (durable, reusable plastic water bottle) with me, so when I am eating at a casual dining establishment I can forgo the paper cup/plastic top/plastic straw that people generally get their beverages in, or even having to buy a bottled beverage. In both cases, the container that held the liquid just gets thrown out, so this way I'm generating that much less garbage. I've never been somewhere that I couldn't fill my water bottle up from either the soda fountain, or someone behind the counter would fill it up for me. Plus, people often ask me what my bottle is. Who knows if they are inspired to carry their own water bottle too!
02/07/2008 10:27:55 AM CST
Lou says ...
In order to help extend my green way of thinking beyond home, I like to buy used whenever possible. Try goodwill, craigslist.com, your paper's classified section, and even ebay.com before you buy a new product.
02/07/2008 10:40:40 AM CST
Green Gloria says ...
Hi, I live in the Northeast populated by towns where septic systems are prevalent and garbage disposals are not utilized. Food scraps such as egg shells, coffee grinds, vegetable peelings, etc end up being disposed in plastic bags that end up in the non-recyclable waste. Rather than adding to the landfill, I have invested in a compost tumbler. I place these materials in the tumber and end up with "black gold" compost for my garden. This results in having less to haul to the town landfill and also utilizing less plastic disposal containers as well!
02/07/2008 11:34:08 AM CST
Stephanie says ...
Bring your own tupperware for leftovers after eating out. Make a fun night out of it and take public transportation to the restaurant. It will allow you and your significant other/friends to spend quality time with each other and keeping the air more clean with less cars on the road.
02/07/2008 11:58:58 AM CST
Angela says ...
--PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES-- I can only imagine how many of these are thrown in the streets, lakes, rivers, oceans.... What I do is SAVE the ones I have. The smaller ones I wash out and refill them with stuff from home---water, tea, juice...and take them to go. The bigger gallons I save also and take them to a local natural spring and refill my personal water supply that way. Or I use them for watering my plants around the house. I'm sure there are a million other ways to reuse those plastic bottles. But not only are you helping the environment...your saving money by not purchasing a drink everytime you leave the house because you already have a drink handy and your not continuously buying bottled water.
02/07/2008 12:51:59 PM CST
Tracy says ...
I eat a vegan diet. Raising animals for food is a major contributor to climate change.
02/07/2008 1:18:14 PM CST
Sharon Spontak says ...
An easy (and fun) way to start living a greener life: form a "green" group with friends. Most people struggle to find balance in their life, running themselves ragged trying to keep up with work, the kids, running errands, etc. Finding time for yourself to just have fun and socialize with friends can be a real challenge. By forming a "green group" with your friends, you can share the errands and mundane activities that take up so much of your free time. How it works: - Choose one day/evening for a short, 10 minute phone call with the friend(s) participating. A conference call is ideal. - Compare your errand list with your friends. You will be surprised to find that everyone is planning to go to the same drug store, post office, dry cleaners, etc. - Divide the errands. One goes to the post office, one goes to the drug store, etc. Each person ends up with one or two errands -- not six. - Choose a day and time to meet with your friends to exchange packages. It is a lot more fun to use your free hour to dine with friends instead of running all over the city doing errands for hours. The environment benefits as well -- fewer errands, less gas used!
02/07/2008 1:59:19 PM CST
Dana says ...
Rather than throwing away our non-meat kitchen and table scraps, we feed them to our hens. What could be better than recycling food into farm-fresh eggs?Keeping hens is easy, they eat pests and weeds, and you can teach your kids where their food comes from.
02/07/2008 3:19:01 PM CST
Kim Nguyen says ...
I bring different types of bags with me in the car so even when I am out shopping I always have my own bags.
02/07/2008 3:46:29 PM CST
Jo McIntosh says ...
Most of us believe all changes are real changes. Any change has impact. Our family is focusing on replacing behaviors. Doing what we do the most frequently in a more thoughtful way. The most impactful thing we've done the last few years is not use plastic bags for our individual fruit and veges. I've never had a Whole Foods checkout person look at us funny. They get it! Over time, you begin to mentally add up how much plastic is used for this needless bagging and it suddenly hits you how much impact one person/family can have.
02/07/2008 3:55:57 PM CST
Claudia says ...
We consistently recycle at home and are fortunate that our community offers home pickup for recycling, however there are no pickup options for recycling at our office. Like most businesses, we create and receive considerable paper waste as well as some plastic and other recyclable materials. We keep a recycling bin here at the office, take it home on recycling day, put the bin on the curb and bring it back empty. It takes a little effort and it's worth it.
02/07/2008 4:17:52 PM CST
Angela Rivello says ...
Since spending time in Italy this May we have noticed a big difference between having a coffee in Tuscany vs the Bay Area. THE CUP. In Italy you take time to sip from a ceramic cup. You have to ask for a diposable cup. Back in the usa we ask for our cappucinos in a ceramic cup. If you don't ask you get the cardboard cup. With the ceramic cup you get to slow down and enjoy the drink and save a cup for someone in a rush. Give it a try, slow down and enjoy your coffe drink from a real cup, the old world ways are wise and greener!
02/07/2008 4:24:01 PM CST
Katarina says ...
Besides bringing my own cloth bags to the store for groceries, I also reuse the following items as many time as I can: the bulk coffee bags, the plastic produce bags, brown paper bags for mushrooms and even the plastic containers (with lids) for bulk olives (which I wash out thoroughly, of course). As I am using up groceries during the week, I put the empty bags/containers etc. into my shopping bag and when I am ready to go grocery shopping, it's all there in one place.
02/07/2008 5:56:57 PM CST
Shari Asplund says ...
Errands - they're endless. But think before you reach for those car keys. If you're going less than a mile, walk! It will only take about 20 minutes and it will feel great. Use a backpack to hold anything you'll need to bring or carry back. If you're going 2-5 miles, consider riding a bicycle. Excellent exercise and a lot of fun. No pollution and using your own muscles - what could be better? The backpack makes it easy to carry what you need. If you're going farther or have a heavy load, plan ahead and group your errands to do many at once. You will save time and gas.
02/07/2008 6:30:15 PM CST
Christian stroud says ...
These are all very noble cases of Living a greener lifestyle and I commend all of you. Going Vegetarian is one of the most accessible and most effective ways an individual can critique global warming and reduce their carbon footprint. My mother has a vegetarian food manufacturing company called FIVE STAR FOODIES and she is constantly trying to find new ways to reduce the company's carbon footprint, All her products are in recyclable containers. She is exploring new options with recycled brown paper bags that the consumer can use over and over. She is always looking for feedback from the buyer so if you have any ideas on how she can "Go Greener" let us know at fivestarfoodies.com. Oh and by they way her products are DELICIOUS!!
02/07/2008 7:28:08 PM CST
Debbi says ...
I try to be green by using cloth bags for not only grocery shopping, but I also take them into retail stores as well. I also purchased reusable plastic sandwich and drink containers (about $1.50 ea) to use when packing lunches. I began this when my grandson started school and have used the same ones for three and a half years now. I think this has saved a lot of plastic from the landfills and it has save me an enormous amount of money as well. I have also made a point of shutting off lights when leaving rooms. I organizing my day so I do not have to make unnecessary trips in the car, I do all my running at once, lists help with this. I open my window blinds on the windows that get the sunlight in the winter, which helps with heating and I keep them closed when its summer to keep the heat out. I only wash clothes once a week to be sure to have a full washer each time and I only run the dishwasher when it is completely full. I have replaced my light bulbs with energy efficient ones and I am using the "Smart Cords" to save on electricity as well. I turn my heat down at night and add blankets to the beds to keep warm and I leave it down during the day when we are not home.
02/07/2008 7:48:23 PM CST
Lynne Goodrich says ...
It is really pretty easy to set up composting of food waste and paper goods at group events such as school parties or community group potlucks. In Seattle we can put compostables in our home yard waste containers. At events outside of home, I put bio-bags in garbage cans for compostables and have folks take a bag home with them. And, I have a box just for disposable forks - after the event I take them home and put them through the dishwasher - I have now used the same set of 100 plus forks for six different events. Folks are usually very receptive and also surprised that there is very little cost or time involved to compost for a party or potluck.
02/07/2008 9:33:52 PM CST
Jan Spahn says ...
I have just started taking a reusable container with me when I go out to dinner. I just don't want to use Styrofoam containers that most places give you for take home! So far, this has been met with a pleasant response from the waiter/waitress!!!
02/07/2008 9:36:49 PM CST
Janet says ...
While vacationing in Kennebunkport, Maine, I went to a food store that actually provided free sturdy cloth bags to hold your wine bottles. It had individual compartments. Now in PA and other states, liquor is not sold in food stores but this type of cloth bag is very useful when shopping, plus it eliminates both paper and plastic bags which the stores will use to protect the bottles. I'll have to take a look and see if I can still read the manufacturer and I'll post that info in case anyone is interested in where they can buy these.
02/08/2008 2:47:03 PM CST
Janet says ...
I have stopped buying those plastic water bottles for use when I work out. Think about the $ you'll save at the grocery store in addition to all those plastic bottles - where do they end up? I used to take comfort in the fact that they were all recycled, but I wonder sometimes...I purchased a stainless steel water bottle from greenfeet.com. Strange name for a website, but environmentally conscious website.
02/08/2008 2:52:07 PM CST
veronica says ...
Don't Dine out!!!! More meals should be based around the family dinner table. We are living in a world that is so wasteful that we have forgotten to appreciate the air we breathe & to live the healthy lives that we were meant to live. I love to plant seeds and watch them grow into beautiful plants that I can benefit from the spring to winter. Perserving is a way to keep all the much needed trash out of our landfills. Jars are made to last lifetimes. I know many family's do not have the resources to plant crops in the suburbs but we can buy locally and eat organic to save the farmers in this fast paced world.
02/09/2008 1:47:32 PM CST
andrajeanne says ...
It's hard to dine out "green" in my area, my local restaurants have just not caught on yet. So I came up with a great fix. With a group of friends you take turns hosting a "green" dinner party. Once a week or once a month, the host will have everyone over and prepare a wonderful dinner with locally or self grown organic food. Each meal is a surprise to the guests and gets everyone talking and finding out new healthy recipes and new places to get certain ingredients. It also gets the creativity going for the next host. It's a lot of fun and a great way to spend an evening "dining out" with friends that uses local resources, and produces hardly any waste.
02/10/2008 10:45:31 AM CST
Jennifer says ...
After reading through 24 posted comments, I'd like to share my additional and very doable idea of taking home any paper and plastic products (i.e.cutlery) that I end up with most times when dining out. Usually this is just the paper napkin(s), which I cut up into smaller sections once back home and set into a little basket affixed to the inside of the kitchen sink door. Since many places I frequent for eating out don't use cloth napkins, I accumulate a respectable pile that I can use instead of buying paper towels for mopping up messes, wiping out pans, sopping up oily spots before running through with the dish rag, etc.. I haven't purchased paper towels in years! For drying the hands I have a terry cloth towel handy. Other paper products (plates, cups) that come my way just go into the cardboard recycle box in my garage. The plastic items go into plastic recycling, which my community thankfully does. If I know in advance that a dining business uses only paper and plastic, I bring my own ceramic mug, cutlery (bamboo) and plate (enameled tin). What fun to hear the remarks of salespersons and other customers looking on!
02/13/2008 9:08:10 PM CST