Dining Out with Sustainability in Mind

Whether you eat at home or dine out, your choice impacts the environment. Wondering how you can find sustainable restaurants and make sure that the food you buy  — for dining in or take out — is as sustainably produced as possible? These tips can help you enjoy the delicacies Rochester has to offer while reducing your environmental footprint.

Finding the Right Place

Research different restaurants and see if they offer sustainable options. Some places engage in pre and post-consumer compost. “Farm-to-table” is often used as a marketing tool to inform customers about the freshness of the food they’re serving. See if the place you choose to dine at purchases its ingredients from local sources.

Getting there

While it may be convenient to drive to different locations, consider other options like public transportations or even walking. A previous tip article has more information about transportation alternatives.

What to order

Choose local and seasonal. Doing so can greatly reduce carbon emissions because it requires less energy to get the food from the farm to the restaurant. Reducing your meat consumption can also benefit the environment because it requires less resources (water, land, etc.) to produce non meat foods than meat. As for drinks, avoid using a single-use straw when possible.

During your meal

Servers will often refill drinks throughout the meal, but if you do not intend to finish an entire glass of water when you are almost done with your meal, let the server know. Typically, when a customer is unsatisfied with their meal, the food is tossed away and a new order is put in. If you find that your food is not seasoned enough, see if you can get an extra side of sauce or seasoning.

After your meal

Restaurants will throw away leftovers so reduce waste and pack any leftovers home with you. Also, consider bringing your own containers to pack your food to go. Some restaurants are now asking whether you would like a paper receipt and/or emailed receipt. Choosing to go paperless can help paper waste and may actually make it easier to keep track of your receipts.


Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022

Photo Credits: https://mydario.com/healthy-eating-dining/