Vancouverites will be able to identify eco-friendly restaurants
54% of Canadians eat out once a week or more, and 4.2 million more Canadians order food online at least once a week compared to pre-pandemic. The restaurant industry helps serve one of our basic human needs, but at the same time faces significant environmental issues, from food waste to take out containers ending in our landfills.
To help diners make educated and eco-friendly decisions when choosing dine-in or take-out restaurants, EcoMeter has just launched a pilot phase at the beginning of 2022 in Vancouver, and will expand, aiming to have consumer feedback integrated to validate restaurant efforts. It will also be a resource hub for Vancouver foodservice operators, who will become armed with tools, information and connections to help improve their efforts and be featured more positively.
EcoMeter is the winning concept of the 2021 Brand Battle for Good‘s hack-a-thon, an accelerated ideation and pitch competition that was a focal point of the Vancouver sustainability’s conference held in May 2021. The team is based on around 10 local volunteers who love the outdoors, really care about the future and the environment, with the core team being composed of Jill Robinson, Alex Cronje and Dan Marrett.
The concept has Vancouver in its target, initially inspired by the City of Vancouver’s objective of being a zero-waste city by 2040. However, with success here it could roll out to other Canadian cities as well as internationally.
What will the rating look like?
Restaurants will be rated on their actions towards four main categories:
1) Take-out packaging
2) Food waste
3) Community initiatives
4) Supply chain
Consumers will be able to have access to the following restaurant ratings, with different levels:
– Eco Aware: 1 partner in at least 1 category
– Eco Steward: 1 partner in at least 2 categories
– Eco Leader: 1 partner in at least 3 categories
– Eco Champ: 1 partner in the 4 categories
Measuring how eco-friendly a restaurant is can be challenging, with different realities between businesses and different regulations between cities. For example, for takeout packaging: what is the best solution between recyclable hard plastic, compostable plastic and reusable containers? It is often hard to make good decisions. EcoMeter wants to make it simple to know the impact a restaurant is making and to improve your score.
EcoMeter will connect restaurants with the right organizations to take further actions, such as Ocean Wise, Vancouver Food Runners, Rethink2gether, Reusables, ShareWares, Too Good To Go and Lighter Fooprint.
The partnership with Rethink2gether was obvious, and enabled the team to gain expertise from passionate food waste prevention experts. EcoMeter’s goal is to amplify what local partners are doing and to reach a high adoption rate on the consumer side. The project will be amplified by media partners such as Vancouver is Awesome.
What can you learn from the Project Co-Leads?
The leaders of this project are all passionate about food and the outdoors . Learn about them!
Name: Jill Robinson
Job: Project Manager
Company: University of British Columbia (UBC)
Passions: the outdoors
Grew up: Ontario (Niagara, Ottawa)
Favourite food: Vietnamese (pho) on a rainy winter day
Favourite restaurant: Sushi Ville on Commercial Drive
Favourite food waste hack: using coffee grounds to make a home-made scrub with coconut oil, vanilla and brown sugar
Favourite influencer: Rich Roll
Favourite podcast: My Climate Journey with Jason Jakobs
Name: Alex Cronje
Job: Impact Marketing Specialist
Passions: nature, sustainability
Grew up: South Africa (born 30 min South of Durban) and moved to Toronto
Favourite food: Mexican food (with a lot of spices and fresh ingredients)
Favourite restaurant: Mezcaleria on Commercial Drive
Favourite food waste hack: eating the whole kiwi with the skin
Favourite influencer: his Dad
Favourite book: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant (people who give are the most successful people)
Name: Daniel Marrett
Job: Director, Global Marketing and Business Development
Company: Ciele Athletics Inc
Passions: hiking, soccer
Grew up: Montreal, then New York
Favourite food: Thai food
Favourite restaurant: a Mexican restaurant in NYC
Favourite food waste hacks: freezing fruits and vegetables and making smoothies
Favourite influencer: Greg Hill (it’s OK not to be perfect)
Favourite podcast: 99% invisible
Zero Waste Recipe: chickpea tomato curry
- Why do you find it delicious? It is very cosy, home-made to share with your loved ones.
- Why is it Zero Waste? It is super versatile you can use any leftover veggies, and the ingredients are healthy for the planet. Have any veggies that go bad? Add them!
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Total Time: 45-60 min
- Serves: 3-4 people
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 1 can of chickpeas
- Whole bunch of garlic and onion
- Chunk tomatoes
- Any leftover veg on hand ( spinach, broccoli, sweet potato)
- 1-3 tsp of turmeric, curry powder, paprika, coriander, chili flake (add as you go)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bonus: squeeze of lime
- In one pan: put garlic and onion, and add in the spices to start cooking for about 5-10 min
- Add a chink of tomatoes with water and salt (or use a can of diced tomatoes). Bring heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add can of coconut milk and additional spices to taste, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes
- Add chickpeas soaked up
- Add a bowl of rice and top off with salt and pepper to taste!