It’s not easy being green… Hamburger Mary’s was recently designated a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant® by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national nonprofit organization specializing in helping restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable. Receiving 189.47 points on the GRA’s rigorous certification scale and having implemented over 40 eco-steps, Hamburger Mary’s has established itself as a leader in sustainable dining throughout Illinois.
“Hamburger Mary’s has always striven to communicate our commitment to the environment” says Brandon Wright, who along with twin brother Ashley, owns this popular Andersonville restaurant and brew pub. “Now, when customers see the 3 Star Certified Green Restaurant logo, they’ll know we’ve verified our environmental initiatives through a credible, transparent program.”
In accordance with the GRA’s Certification standards, 3 Star Certified Green Restaurants® must meet a minimum of 175 points in six of seven key environmental categories. Hamburger Mary’s implemented over 40 innovative steps. Many of these procedures have been part of Mary’s policies since opening in 2006. “My brother and I have always been environmentalists at heart,” says Wright. “We helped start one of the first public recycling programs at our high school in Georgia back in the early 1990′s, so these are values we truly believe in. Business owners – especially restaurant owners – have such a large impact on waste and energy consumption. We wanted to run our business in a manner to reduce that consumption and waste as much as possible.” Some of the environmental policies and procedures at Hamburger Mary’s include:
Implementing a full-scale recycling program, significantly decreasing their waste
Installing energy efficient LED and Compact Fluorescent lighting throughout 79% of the restaurant
Procuring meat (including all beef, chicken and turkey) from certified humane sources. Animals are treated humanely, fed vegetarian diets and never given growth hormones or antibiotics.
Using high-efficiency spray valves on their prep sinks, which save thousands of gallons of water and significant energy
Installing dual-flush handles in all public restrooms
Utilizing bio-based plates, to-go containers, and cutlery that easily degrade and are superior to non-degradable and Styrofoam models
All paper products are made with high-recycled content, including napkins, paper towels and office paper
In addition to the items above, Hamburger Mary’s has many other eco-friendly practices that currently are not considered as part of the GRA’s Certification Program. “Our ultimate goal is to have a restaurant and brew pub with the lowest carbon footprint possible,” says Wright. “That is very difficult given the sheer magnitude of waste generated by a restaurant.”