Edible Beats’ owner Justin Cucci says running a sustainable restaurant is less about serving up a meal and more about the entire restaurant experience. Having been in the food industry for years, Justin knows that when it comes to  sustainability not all restaurants walk the walk. Thankfully, Justin has shared some tips for holding restaurants accountable to their ethos. His number one tool? Asking the right questions.

Do they source locally?

Transporting food costs time, money, and quite a bit of fossil fuel. Not only does sourcing locally support the local community, but also it’s significantly better for the environment. A Colorado restaurant that’s bringing in peaches from China can’t claim it’s sustainable.

What About Energy?

Wind power? Solar power? Which energy source  is being used? Do they compost old food and use the compost to help make new food? Energy consumption is probably one of the biggest indicators for wither or not a restaurant is walking the walk or just talking about it.

Biodegradable Products?

Is there a place you haven’t thought of as  being sustainable? Does an image of a bathroom  pop up?  Some great things to ask yourself when enjoying the restaurant experience are: Is the soap full of chemicals or is it something that’s less harsh? Ask about the toilet paper. Is it biodegradable?

Something that’s a bit more obvious is to go containers. Styrofoam and plastic don’t disintegrate: they spend years sitting in landfills. Next time you’re in a restaurant, ask if they have alternatives such as to go containers made out of corn.

What about the alcohol?

Although Justin brought up vodka in his interview, consumers can use the same question for any alcohol: Do you sell locally made wine?  Like food imported from China, vodka, wine, tequila imported from various countries can expend  energy.  Of course, Justin points out that there a few things that can’t be grown in every state. He  suggests focusing on different rings around  your area. If you live in Colorado maybe ask for products made locally or spirits that were made within your state’s region.