Green Restaurants, In Practice

Meg Wilcox of the Boston Globe, on what makes a green restaurant green: "To qualify for green certification, a restaurant must recycle waste, be styrofoam-free, complete four environmental steps, and commit to four additional steps each year, says Michael Oshman, founder and director of the nonprofit Green Restaurant Association. "The key is completing additional steps each year," he says, "which could include energy or water conservation measures, elimination of toxic cleaners, sustainable food choices, using clean power, and others." More than 300 restaurants nationally have been certified -- bakeries, pizzerias, and luxurious dining rooms."

Eight Boston restaurants are certified, most are upscale and no, they don't have to be vegan or even vegetarian to qualify, just committed to the cause; food-wise this means buying local and sustainable whenever possible. "The certification may seem like a marketing tool for attracting socially conscious diners, but Lumiere chef and owner Michael Leviton says, "Some people get it and really appreciate it, and others will ask, 'Why don't you have any green vegetables [in winter]?"