‘Green Star Standard’: Local restaurants make small changes to protect the environment in big ways

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Posted 10/14/20

OceanBlu Environmental Education and Consulting has launched ecofriendly guidelines for restaurants to reduce waste and help them save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases that customers really do …

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‘Green Star Standard’: Local restaurants make small changes to protect the environment in big ways

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OceanBlu Environmental Education and Consulting has launched ecofriendly guidelines for restaurants to reduce waste and help them save money by avoiding unnecessary purchases that customers really do not use.  Several food establishments in the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach communities have taken steps to make changes such as paper straws, only if requested, as well as cardboard take-away containers rather than Styrofoam. Another Green Star Standard guideline includes reducing single-use items that are not recyclable at our local recycling center such as plastic cups.

To inform the public, each restaurant will be recognized with a green star logo and checklist of established green habits prominently displayed.

Jodi and Brian Harsany of Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar own several restaurants in Orange Beach. They have made the decision to be green and help protect the environment over the last few years because “it’s the right thing to do.”  The Harsany restaurants include Cobalt, BuzzCatz Coffee and Sweets, Luna’s Eat and Drink, and GTs on the Bay and have implemented a ‘paper bag’ policy (when stock is available), rather than using plastic bags.  

“We need to do a better job advertising the fact our businesses use these practices. We can do better. Many guests who get our to-go containers, which are made from sugarcane/bagasse, do not realize that the box is a green choice and why we made that choice. We are also spotlighting our ‘Paws for Recycling’ program where all proceeds from aluminum recycling are donated to an animal care facility.  Follow on our restaurant's social media to learn more,” explained Jodi Harsany.

The Safari Club Restaurant at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is the first green certified restaurant in Alabama. As a leader in conservation, recycling and reduced waste, chef Greg Buschmohle, has made great strides to produce an energy-efficient operation as well.

“We use no Styrofoam products; no plastic straws and all to-go containers are bio-degradable and/or recyclable. We think it’s important to be a good example for our children’s future,” stated Buschmohle.

We would like to give a shoutout to our ‘Gulf Shores Recycling Center’ which services Orange Beach as well. What a huge step to help keep our environment cleaner. While there is not a market to recycle plastic bags, they have a collection location at the center to help with disposal.

Those restaurants and eateries who have already chosen to follow green guidelines will soon receive a Green Star Standard sign and checklist allowing new habits to be added which we hope will encourage friendly competition. Those eating establishments who are new to the program can learn how doable it is and enjoy receiving the bragging rights in our communities also.