EAT Restaurant Initiative
To raise awareness surrounding disposable waste and the impact it has on our health and the health of the planet. EAT sustainable practices include:
- Favoring the use of reusable containers over disposable.
- Avoiding disposable containers that leach toxins into our food and ultimately contaminate our soil and water.
- Reducing landfill waste through composting and food rescue organizations
- Reducing the use of single use plastics.
Welcome to the table Alabama – Let’s EAT Sustainably!
The Alabama Environmental Council (AEC) would like to invite you to join the Earth Aware Team (EAT).
As a consumer you can support restaurants that adopt sustainable practices. Look for the EAT Seal identifying partner restaurants
As a restaurant you can fill out the EAT Partner Application HERE and we will get you started.
Members and supporters of EAT Alabama understand that their choices make a difference.
Level 1 – No Styro Friend
- No polystyrene foam (styrofoam) food service containers or any #6 polystyrene plastic containers *
- No single use plastic bags for takeout
- Utensils for take out service, other accessories (straws, stirrers, etc) and condiments provided only upon request
Why no Styrofoam?
Styrofoam is the 5th largest source of hazardous waste on the planet.
Styrofoam contains toxins that leach into our food and drink, and when disposed of, contaminates the soil, water and especially our air.
Why no single-use plastic bags?
Over 100 billion plastic bags are produced annually in the US and they float easily in the air and water, traveling long distances and never fully breaking down. This waste will be with us forever.
Why no plastic utensils?
Plastic utensils are virtually impossible to recycle through curbside recycling programs, and 98% of all U.S. takeout or delivery meals are consumed at home or a workplace, where reusable cutlery is typically available
Level 2 – Silver Sustainable Partner
- Meet Criteria for Sustainable Friend
- Use composting to reduce landfill waste AND/OR
- Donate leftovers (see Restaurant Resource Partners below)
Or 3 of the following:
- Buy local, preferably organic produce and humanely raised animals when possible (at least 5% of COGS is from local suppliers)
- Offer plant based proteins
- No beverages sold in plastic bottles
- Advertise that you will refill water bottles
- Accept personal containers for take-out
Why should you participate in a food rescue program and compost?
- The amount of food wasted is almost exactly equal to the amount of food needed to end hunger.
- Food waste is estimated between 30-40 percent of our food supply.
- Food is the number one item in American landfills.
- Nearly half of our fruits and vegetables get thrown out.
- Up to 10% of global greenhouse gasses come from food that is produced, but not eaten.
- Organic waste, such as food waste and yard waste, make up 25 to 50% of what people throw away.
- Organic waste in landfills generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting significantly reduces methane emissions.
- Compost reduces and can even eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Compost provides carbon sequestration.
Level 3 – Gold Sustainable Partner
- Meet criteria for Silver Sustainable Partner
- Food service containers must contain low to no PFAS (Unless lined with PLA or a clay coating)
- Only reusable foodware used for onsite dining
What is PFAS and why is it bad?
PFAS or Polyfluoroalkyl Substances are chemicals that have been used to make packaging water and grease resistant, however, they are toxic and carcinogenic. These chemicals leach out of the containers and into our food causing numerous health issues. PFAS chemicals have been dubbed “forever chemicals”, because they are extremely persistent, lasting thousands of years. Every American tested has PFAS in their blood and the greater the level of exposure, the greater the the risk of related health issues such as infertility, autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Using only reusable foodware for on site dining reduces avoidable waste which deplete natural resources, and raises concerns about toxic chemicals that pollute the environment and endanger human health.