These restaurants are putting sustainability first—check out EAT Alabama

EAT Alabama restaurant rewards
Meet two restaurants being recognized for their sustainability. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

If you’re looking for a way to adopt sustainable practices *and* support local, you don’t want to miss this new program. The Alabama Environmental Council’s new EAT Alabama initiative will help you identify restaurants that are doing their part for the health of people and the planet. Check out the first winning restaurants.

What does EAT Alabama mean, exactly?

EAT Alabama gold seal
If you see this seal on a restaurant’s website, make sure to check them out. Photo via Alabama Environmental Council

The Alabama Environmental Council (AEC) is Alabama’s first environmental advocacy organization. Now, the non-profit is officially announcing its EAT Alabama initiative. EAT Alabama, a.k.a. “Earth Aware Team”, empowers people to support restaurants that are adopting sustainable practices.

You can find the EAT Alabama seal on websites and social media as well as inside participating restaurants.

What’s the criteria for restaurants to receive an “EAT” award?

Level 1 – No Styro

  • No Styrofoam containers
  • No single use plastic bags for takeout
  • Utensils for take out service, straws, stirrers, condiments, etc. provided on request

Why it matters: According to EAT Alabama, “Styrofoam is the 5th largest source of hazardous waste on the planet.” It contains toxins that contaminate the soil, water and air. Single-use plastic bags and plastic utensils don’t fully break down.

Level 2 – Silver Sustainable Partner

  • Meet criteria for Level 1
  • Food service containers must contain low to no PFAS
  • Onsite diners only use reusable foodware

Why it matters: PFAS (Polyfluoralkyl Substances) are chemicals that make packages water- and grease-resistant. They’re actually toxic and carcinogenic, so they cause food issues when leaked into containers.

Level 3 – Gold Sustainable Partners

  • Meet criteria for Silver Sustainable Partner
  • Use composting to reduce landfill waste

Or three of the following:

  • Buy local, preferable organic produce & humanely raised animals when possible
  • Offer plant based proteins
  • Donate leftovers
  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles
  • Advertise that you will refill water bottles
  • Accept personal containers for take-out

Why it matters: 50% of the millions of tons of garbage in US landfills and incinerators is actually compostable. Composting leads to better soil and produce, creating healthier lifestyles.

Meet EAT Alabama’s first winning restaurants, Bottega + Birmingham Breadworks

Bottega, EAT Alabama gold partner
Congrats, Bottega. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

Want to check out the first winning restaurants? Head to Bottega and Birmingham Breadworks, EAT Alabama’s gold partners.

“This is a program that is designed to promote restaurants that adopt sustainable practices and will help identify them as healthy choices to consumers.”

Lauren Guillebeau, Co-Chair, Environmental Issues Committee

Want to follow along with EAT Alabama and the winning restaurants? Check out their website and learn more about the benefits for restaurants.

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Cecilia Wood
Cecilia Wood
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