See which 3 local restaurants are now gold sustainable partners of Alabama Environmental Council’s EAT initiative

Bottega with their EAT seal.
Bottega with their EAT seal of approval. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now

These Birmingham restaurants officially have the gold star of sustainability efforts. The Alabama Environmental Council recently welcomed three new local restaurants into the EAT program—an initiative centered around health and sustainability standards. Want to see if your favorite spots made the cut? Keep reading below for all of the details.

The tiers of sustainability

BLUEROOT - best food in Birmingham in September
Enjoying a bowl from Blueroot, an EAT certified sustainable business. Photo via Madison Croxson for Bham Now

Before we get to the good stuff, we first want to recognize the levels of EAT certification. These three tiers have specific requirements for the restaurants to follow in order to gain their official EAT seal.

Level one – no styrofoam allowed

The qualifications for level one are fairly simple. Because of the toxic and carcinogenic chemicals in materials such as styrofoam, it creates a health hazard and fills landfills. In addition, restaurants must:

  • Refrain from using single use plastic bags for takeout
  • Have utensils for take out service, straws, stirrers, condiments, etc. provided on request

Level two-Silver Sustainable Partner

In order to become a silver sustainable partner, these businesses must:

  • Meet all of the requirements of level one
  • Contain low to no PFAS (Polyfluoralkyl Substances) in their food service containers
  • Only use reusable foodware in their onsite diners

PFAS makes containers grease and water-resistant. While this might sound great for your favorite comfort dish, it’s not great for the environment or your health. They contains toxins and carcinogens—making it dangerous when leaked into food.

Level three-Gold Sustainable Partner

This is the best of the best when it comes to sustainability efforts. In order to quality for this title, restaurants must:

  • 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 (They work with local org, FEEDBHAM.)
  • No beverages sold in plastic bottles
  • Advertise that you will refill water bottles
  • Accept personal containers for take-out

Luckily, all of EAT’s partners are gold sustainable partners, so that you can feel good about where you spend your precious dollars.

Let’s welcome these three new partners

someone holding an iced coffee
The Cereal Milk Latte from Filter Coffee Parlor. Photo via Caroline Barr for Bham Now

These gold sustainable partners go the extra mile to provide environmentally conscious efforts, showcase sustainability and prove their dedication to the health of their customers. Ready for the list? Drumroll please…

Blueprint on 3rd

Blueroot

Filter Coffee Parlor

These new spots join two of Birmingham’s existing partners, Bottega and Birmingham Breadworks. The founding partners have also hit the gold sustainability partner mark.

Why local restaurants should be a part of EAT

Have you tried Blueprint on 3rd for a sustainable dining experience?
Have you tried Blueprint on 3rd for a sustainable dining experience? Photo via Blueprint on 3rd website

We caught up with Lauren Guillebeau, Co-Chair of the Environmental Issues Committee, to share how Alabama’s sustainability efforts are a part of something much bigger than trash in a landfill.

“There’s been a lot more conversation on this topic and people are banding together and sharing ideas…..the increase in takeaway or to-go service has doubled since Covid. It may be unavoidable, but a lot of these containers are toxic and carcinogenic. It’s in our systems, the soil, the landfill and our water. We really applaud our partners who are doing their research who are aware and care about their clients’ health.”

-Lauren Guillebeau, Co-Chair, Environmental Issues Committee

If you believe your restaurant qualifies or are interested in qualification, please visit the Alabama Environmental Council’s website to fill out a short questionnaire and get you in touch with council members that will walk you through next steps.

The best part? There’s absolutely no cost involved. Guillebeau explains that once a restaurant is approved as a partner, they receive their seal of approval while also supporting their partners with a free social media campaign on their Instagram showing AEC’s partners some love.

Who’s headed to these five spots to show support for their sustainability efforts? I know I sure am.

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Olivia Moses
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