Rathbone Student Restaurant earns green certification

Sodexo-operated Rathbone Student Restaurant at Lehigh has officially been named a two-star certified green restaurant.

Rathbone met the environmental standards of The Green Restaurant Association, a national nonprofit that has been greening restaurants since 1990.  The standards provide a way to measure a restaurant’s environmental accomplishments, while providing a path for next steps each restaurant can take towards increased environmental sustainability.

Rathbone director Lauren Sleeger says that over the past few years, Sodexo has implemented many different systems and procedures integral to the restaurant’s daily operation that typically remain behind the scenes.

“Rathbone is committed to buying local, minimizing chemical pollution and reducing waste to name a few,” Sleeger says. “This certification has brought all these efforts front and center.”

Rathbone earned 132 GreenPoints by taking 43 environmental steps, including sourcing sustainable food, conserving energy and water, minimizing chemical pollution and reducing waste through recycling.

Specific actions taken by Rathbone include:

  • Having daily offerings that consist of one-third vegetarian dishes at every meal.  Vegetarian dishes reduce Rathbone’s carbon footprint.
  • Partnering with Common Market of Philadelphia to use fresh and local foods in Rathbone’s daily meals.
  • Converting all lighting in Rathbone to LED, which saves energy.
  • Ensuring more than 90 percent of the cleaning chemicals used in Rathbone are “Green Seal” certified, concentrated or sustainable.
  • Installing low-flow faucets, which decrease the amount of water used.
  • Installing Xpressnap napkin dispensers to curb energy and waste.  The napkins are made of recycled paper, and the dispenser encourages customers to take (and waste) fewer napkins.

“I get a great sense of pride knowing that we are doing the right things for our students and our environment,” said Sleeger. “The certification provides us with a way to quantify and acknowledge the hard work and dedication that Lehigh Dining puts into sustainability.”

By Katharine Targett

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