Sustainability is a priority of the Georgia Restaurant Association. Through programs like ConServe and Zero Waste Zone, we provide restaurant operators with ways to lessen their environmental impact. 

According to the National Restaurant Association ConServe Website, restaurants are the most energy intensive commercial buildings in the United States. Just operating one deep fryer, which consumes between 11-18,000 kwh of electricity a year (or @20,000 btu’s an hour) is also roughly the same amount of energy an entire household uses in a year. 

Did You Know?

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  • 09 Nov 2011 2:02 PM | Anonymous

    Georgia Power Rebates for Efficient Cooking Equipment

    Georgia Power Commercial Energy Efficiency Incentive Program
  • 19 Oct 2011 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    Managing the Discharge of Fats, Oils, and Grease from Food Service Establishments

  • 19 Oct 2011 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valves Save Water and Energy

  • 11 Jul 2011 5:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Sustainable Office Toolkit is a set of resources and tools developed by the Sustainability Division to help offices of all types and size move toward sustainability through practices such as recycling, energy and water conservation, and “green” building.

    To become a sustainable office, your environmental program must become part of your business’s core operating principles and values. It must be carried out as systematically and with as much attention to detail as a project for your manager or board of directors. For example, simply posting recycling signs above a new container is not going to effect a change in behavior; and such a change is exactly what needs to happen.

  • 11 Jul 2011 5:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Water, energy and climate change are interrelated. Taking steps to conserve water helps to reduce our overall energy consumption. Together, water conservation and energy efficiency help us to respond in a more responsible manner to the effects of climate change.

    Because water, energy and climate change are interrelated, sustainable solutions require an integrated framework. This means developing a sustainable framework appropriate for your company or organization requires consideration of the whole picture.

    How to Optimize Your Efforts

    By creating a comprehensive plan that considers the interrelationship of your water, gas and electric use, waste outputs and overall operational processes, you will optimize your ability to achieve the greatest cost reductions while simultaneously realizing gains to your bottom line.

    Getting Started

    Some of the basic steps you can take to get started include:

    • Implementing reliable, recognized metrics
    • Using measurement tools that analyze the linkage between water and energy consumption to maximize conservation and savings
    • Educating and training employees about water sources and water efficiency
    • Integrating water into the mainstream of your corporate culture
    • Employing best practices

    What’s Next: Challenges & Benefits

    But this is just a beginning. To truly do well and do good, it will be necessary for you to continue with additional commitments and goalsundefinedand build on those targets into the future.

    While making a commitment to maximizing your water efficiency and conserving water may seem daunting in terms of time, money and resources, those businesses that have made the commitment will tell you that the gains and benefits far exceed the investment – in terms of reduced operating costs, wealth enhancement and brand promotion.

    Making the commitment does not mean exceeding your capacities. Any commitment to sustainability should always set modest, incremental goals. These goals must have valid, credible metrics that measure progress in order to assess what is working, what isn’t, and where modifications are required. This should be followed by a published report that shares with your stakeholders the results of your efforts. This transparency has proven to be a successful strategy in fortifying the bottom line.

    So what are your next steps?

    Here’s a 10-step approach to creating a successful water conservation program for your business:

    1. Make a commitment to water conservation 

    Experience shows that for any program to be successful, the desire to conserve water must be present from the highest level of management on down. Upper management should understand that water conservation is necessary and be fully committed to its support. 
    2. Appoint a Conservation Champion 

    Companies that assign responsibility to an individual have better results than those that do not.  So give someone within your organization responsibility for creating, implementing and maintaining your water conservation program. 
    3. Measure Your Water Footprint

    Conduct a water audit in order to determine how and where you use water. Know how much water is being used for each of your organization’s industrial processes and/or operational needs. To assist you in determining how your on-site water is being used, you may want to install sub-meters. 
    4.  Learn about conserving water in the business environment 

    Learn from businesses that have already established a water conservation plan.  You can adapt these suggestions to custom-fit your business and corporate culture, as well as innovate approaches that further help you to reduce your water consumption. 
    5. Check your system for leaks 

    Detect leaks by periodically shutting off all water-using facilities and reading the water meter (a great site that shows you how to read your meter is: Measuring your water use at regular intervals helps you gauge both your water consumption, as well as detect leaks. If the dial on the meter moves, that means you have a leak somewhere on your facility.  Repairing leaks as soon as possible will help you save significant money that is literally going down your drain. 
    6. Set a conservation goal 

    It is important to have realistic goals, but goals need to be high enough to require substantial effort.  Allow these goals to serve as benchmarks. They will demonstrate the effectiveness of your water conservation program. As a result, you will promote your business as a leader and boost your brand.
    7. Involve your employees 

    Teach water awareness. Many companies post signs throughout their facilities that raise water conservation awareness among employees. Creating competition among employees  - e.g., establishing which division uses the least amount of water - is another idea. Once employees start thinking about the source and use of their water, water consumption decreases. 
    8. Install low flow devices 

    Use toilet tank displacement devices or install vacuum flush toilets. If you already have these types of toilets, make sure they are adjusted to use the minimum amount of water required per flush. All showering facilities should be equipped with low-flow showerheads. Showerheads with on-off valves provide the opportunity to conserve more water than those without.  Similar measures should be taken for all faucet fixtures. 
    9. Be aware of water-efficient equipment 

    When replacing equipment or technologies, be aware of how much water the new equipment will use. Manufacturers are more aware of the need for water conservation, designing technologies that require less water. You may find you have a choice in your purchases, and water conservation could be a key determining factor in the selection process. 
    10. Monitor your results 

    Each water bill includes your consumption history. It’s possible for you to follow this history and get an immediate idea as to how well you are doing compared to last year during the same month’s billing period. Use charts, graphs and other records to keep track of your conservation progress. 

    Additionally, rebates are available for many types of water conservation devices and activities. Remember to ask about rebates from manufacturers, as well as your local government.


     For more helpful information, visit:

    Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG)

    In 2004, a new Georgia law was enacted that regulates the grease hauling and processing industry.  The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has created rules relating to this law, and is currently accepting applications from haulers to become registered to haul grease in the state.  Visit to register, see the original bill, and related EPD rules and regulations. Click on the links below for a list of registered haulers and a map of their service regions.

    Registered Commercial Waste (Grease) Haulers

    Map of Service Regions


    Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) waste generated by the food service component of the hospitality industry creates a huge burden on waste water infrastructure and water treatment facilities throughout the state. If you are a food service or lodging provider, implementing pollution prevention in your operations can help you:

    • Reduce the environmental impacts of your operations, thereby reducing your regulatory requirements and paperwork headaches.
    • Save money: waste is created out of inefficiency, and inefficiency is expensive.
    • Create a "green" image and a competitive edge.

    To address this issue, P²AD has prepared a series of fact sheets and a poster for food service establishments. These materials are available below. To order print copies, call (404) 651-5120.


    Fact Sheets

    Best Management Practices for Fats, Oils and Grease (PDF, 105KB)

    Food Service Waste Reduction (PDF, 121KB)

    Restaurant Oil and Grease Rendering (PDF, 120KB)

    Oil & Grease Definitions (PDF, 59KB)

    Managing Food Materials (PDF, 121KB)

    Grease Trap 101 (PDF, 184KB)



    Grease Goblin Poster (English) (PDF, 73KB)

    Grease Goblin Poster (Spanish) (PDF, 72KB)

    Grease Goblin Poster (Chinese) (PDF, 158KB)

    Grease Goblin Poster (Korean) (PDF, 142KB)

  • 11 Jul 2011 4:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    During the draught of 2006, The Coca-Cola Company and the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) developed guidelines to conserve water for restaurants. The objective was to identify key actions and alternatives that owners/managers/operators could execute to reduce water usage. 


    About half of the water used in restaurants is used in kitchen areas.

    Slow the flow!

    Turn off the continuous flow used to wash the drain trays of the coffee/milk/soda beverage island. Clean thoroughly as needed.

    Reduce the flow to dipper wells (troughs) for ice cream and butter scoops, and other frequently used utensils.

    Adjust ice machines to dispense less ice if ice is being wasted.

    Presoak utensils and dishes in basins of water, rather than in running water.

    Replace automatic shut-off spray nozzles, which can use as much as 4.5 gallons of water each minute, with low-volume nozzles using 2.0 gallons per minute.

    Do not use running water to melt ice in bar sink strainers.

    Turn off food preparation faucets that are not in use. Consider installing foot triggers.

    Do not allow water to flow unnecessarily. Consider using automatic shut-off faucets at bar sinks.


     Dishwasher Hints

    Wash only full loads in the dishwashers.

    Replace the spray heads to reduce flow.

    Turn dishwashers off when dishes are not being processed.

    Be water thrifty!

    Reuse the rinse water from the dishwasher as flush water in garbage disposal units.

    Use water from the steam table, instead of fresh water, to wash down the cook's area.

    Serve water only upon request.


    Domestic water use accounts for an average of 35% of the water use in restaurants.

    Repair Leaks! A leaking toilet can waste more than 50 gallons of water each day and a dripping faucet or showerhead can waste up to 1,000 gallons per week!

    Replace existing faucets that use as much as 2.5 gallons per minute with those which use only 1.5. In most cases, low-volume faucet aerators can be installed when the entire faucet does not need replacing.


    Water use in toilets can be reduced by:

    Installing toilet tank water displacement devices, such as toilet dams, bags, or weighted bottles.

    Retrofitting flushometer (tank-less) toilets with water-savings diaphragms, which save one gallon (20%) per flush.

    Replacing toilets with low-volume models. Toilets can use as much as 4.5 gallons per flush, while low-volume toilets use only 1.6 gallons per flush. An average savings of more than 16% of a restaurant's total water use is possible through this one water conservation action.


    These water efficiency suggestions are more than just a good idea. Low-volume water fixtures are also required by most local building codes.

    Building Maintenance


    Check the plumbing for leaks, and turn off unnecessary flows.

    Read water meters monthly. Compare the readings to those taken in the same month of the previous year. This will help to identify leaks as they occur, as well as monitor conservation efforts.

    Check the pressure. Where system pressure is higher than 60 psi, install pressure-reducing valves.

    Reduce excessive blowdown! Many cooling towers operate below the suggested levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) unnecessarily. Adjust boiler and cooling tower blowdown rate to maintain TDS at levels recommended by manufacturers' specifications.

    Shut off water-cooled air conditioning units when not needed, or replace water-cooled equipment with air-cooled systems.



    When cleaning with water is necessary, use budgeted amounts.

    Switch from "wet" carpet cleaning methods, such as steam, to "dry," powder methods.

    Consider changing window cleaning schedules from "periodic" to "as required."


    Outdoor Water Use


    Water your landscape only when needed. Look for signs of wilt before watering established plants.

    Water early in the morning or in the evening when wind and evaporation are lowest.

    Install an automatic rain shut-off device on sprinkler systems.

    Consider using low-volume irrigation, such as a drip system.

    Avoid runoff! Make sure sprinklers are directing water to landscape areas, and not to parking lots, sidewalks, or other paved areas.

    Adjust the irrigation schedule for seasonal changes. Sprinklers generally do not have to be run as often in cooler weather, or during the rainy season.

    Consider using drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plants.



    Be sure all hoses have shut-off nozzles.

    Use a broom, rather than a hose, to clear sidewalks, driveways, loading docks and parking lots.

    Wash vehicles only when needed.

    Investigate the availability of reclaimed water for irrigation and other approved uses.


    Make it a Company Policy

    Educate employees about the importance and benefits of water conservation. Materials may be available from the SWFWMD or your local water supplier.

    Create water conservation suggestion boxes, and place them in prominent areas.

    Install signs in restrooms, and display information on tables, encouraging water conservation.

    Assign an employee to evaluate water conservation opportunities and effectiveness.

    Any retrofitting and/or plumbing changes to facilities must be consistent with regulatory agencies. Check with the appropriate agencies before making changes.


    Restaurants use an average of 5,800 gallons per day (GPD) of water.

    Types of
    Water Uses

    Average Water Use
    (% of total)

    Potential Savings
    (% of total)

















    100% 5,800 gpd

    29% 1,682

    Source: ICI Conservation in the Tri-County Area of the SWFWMD. SWFWMD, November 1997.

  • 11 Jul 2011 4:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    View the brochure.

    Low-flow pre-rinse spray valves will save you money on your water, sewer and water heating bills. 

    A low-flow pre-rinse spray valve is one of the easiest and most cost-effective water saving devices any food service operation can install. New low-flow valves on the market
    work just as well as the older, inefficient valves but reduce water use by 30 to 70 percent.

    What is a pre-rinse spray valve?

    A pre-rinse spray valve is a handheld device that uses a spray of water to remove food and grease from dishware, utensils and pans before placing them in the dishwasher. Low-flow pre-rinse valves are inexpensive and easily interchangeable with different manufacturers’ assemblies.

    Why use a low-flow pre-rinse spray valve?

    Dishwashing in a typical restaurant consumes more than two-thirds of all of the water used in the restaurant. Nearly one-half of that water can be used to rinse the dishes before actually washing. A great deal of energy is used to heat this water. A typical pre-rinse spray valve uses 3 gallons per minute (gpm); however, older spray valves still use up to 7 gpm. A low-flow pre-rinse spray valve uses only 1.6 gpm. Increased water efficiency correlates to direct savings in energy by reducing the amount of water that needs to be heated.

    Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valve Performance

    The Food Service Technology Center in California tested many low-flow pre-rinse spray valves and concluded that efficient valves with the knife-like spray pattern performed as well as or better than conventional models. The following low-flow spray valves meet the performance criteria of the Food Service Technology Center as of September 20, 2006.

    Extremely low or high water pressure can impact performance; standard water pressure is 60 psi. Check your water pressure before installing a pre-rinse spray valve.

    Calculate Your Water Savings

    The Food Service Technology Center has an online calculator that can estimate how much your
    restaurant could save. To calculate your water savings go


    For the most current list and for detailed performance summaries of these
    pre-rinse spray valves go to


    Food Service Technology Center

    Water Management Options:

    Federal Energy Management Program: How to Buy Low-Flow Pre-Rinse Spray Valves

    Federal Energy Management Program: Clean Up with Water Savings

  • 11 Jul 2011 4:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Recycling is a significant component of the waste reduction process. Most communities have access to the recycling of common recyclables such as paper, cardboard, plastics bottles (#1&#2), metal cans, aluminum cans and glass bottles.  


    • Recycling these products reduces the amount of waste going to the landfill.
    • Making new products from recyclables saves energy in the manufacturing process.
    • Recycling creates jobs and supports the local economy.


    • $250 million of commonly recycled materials such as cardboard, aluminum, and plastics are being disposed of in Georgia’s landfills each year.  
    • The lost market value of materials that could be recycled is estimated at a $90 million cost.
    • Georgia is home to a wide array of businesses that use recycled materials to manufacture their products.
    • There is a higher than average demand for recyclables in Georgia by companies that make them into new products.

    Facts to Consider:

    • Paper and cardboard collection programs allow for the following “paper” items: newsprint, magazines, corrugated cardboard, phone books, chipboard, white and colored paper, mail, and office paper. The paper must be reasonably free of food residue.
    • Most waste hauling contracts charge on a per ton and per pull basis. Recycling reduces both the number of pulls and weight per pull, thus reducing the amount charged by the waste hauling company.
    • Recycling companies charge to haul the recyclables away. Depending on the value of the recyclables, a rebate will reduce the cost when compared to hauling waste. Sometimes the rebate is built into the price of the service.

    Questions to Consider:

    • Do I generate enough recyclables to designate an 8 cubic yard dumpster or compactor for the sole collection of recyclables?
    • What type of space do I have available for collection of recyclables, both in the kitchen and outside?
    • Does my current vendor provide recycling services?
    • By expanding my recycling program, how does that reduce my waste collection costs?
    • How can I educate my staff and customers about my new recycling program?


    • Decreased tonnage going to the landfill
    • Customers are demanding recycling options
    • Ability to market sustainable practices
    • Increased staff morale associated with green practices


    • Landfill tipping fees are low in Georgia.
    • Some businesses may have limited space for recycling containers.
    • An employee training program must be developed for a successful recycling program.
    • Support must be given from the management level.
  • 11 Jul 2011 4:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Tips on how you can do your part for the environment and still have a good time.

    Hosting a green event, whether it’s a small party or a large convention, is not as complicated or difficult as it seems. You can entertain with panache and still have a green conscience by incorporating various practices into your planning. Indeed, there are myriad ways to soften the blow to our environment without sacrificing quality. One of the first things you can do is strategize with your event planner about ways to ‘green’ up your event. 

    The Right Invite
    Many green planning companies suggest using electronic mail to send invitations. If you still hanker for a written invite, look   They offer beautiful hand crafted papers made from recycled materials (including soy-based inks). Twisted Limb notes that creating your invitations and stationery with 100% recycled junk mail and office paper, helps them recycle close to 1536 pounds of paper per year. Green Field Paper Company ( carries a line of handmade “grow-a-note” cards that are embedded with seeds. Easy planting instructions appear on the back of each card, along with the seed content.  Each handmade card will recycle naturally into the soil as the seedlings grow.  Let the paper do double duty: invitation and yard beautification.

    For large signage at corporate meetings, Joseph Malki, vice president at Seven-Star Inc., one of the world’s largest producers of green events, suggests working with companies that create biodegradable signage from products such as corn. For more information contact Nate Clancy at or (703)-913-5300.  Malki also notes that, “event planners can also draw up a Greenhouse Gas Impact statement of the event you are hosting. Companies can offset the impact by purchasing a commensurate amount of trees.”  This presents a marvelous opportunity for your company to celebrate its dedication to clean environmental progress.

    Everyone can make a change here, no matter what size party you plan to host, if you intend to use plastic and Styrofoam turn your eye towards biobased/compostable products. Several companies now produce bamboo, sugarcane, corn and potato based cutlery, plates napkins and straws.  You’ll feel better sweeping organic items into your compostable trash bags at the end of the evening.  Try for a wide selection of serving options. Check out  for compostable-ware (several of their products are available at Whole Foods and Crate and Barrel). The Green Glass Company ( creates attractive goblets, stemware, and vases from old glass (which uses less energy that actually using recycled glass).

    Mood Lighting:
    Compact fluorescent bulbs certainly do save energy but not always flattering when dimmed. Why not arrange a fetching spread of Eco candles from Paddywax to give your event a festive glow? ( You may also want to use a variety of locally grown flowers to beautify the setting. 

    Consider featuring locally farmed produce and other items in your menu.  Another possibility is to fashion a creative party favor from local ingredients. Arrange a selection of beautiful jars of organic jams and honey as center pieces, creating conversation about the products. Reuse and renew while adding a warm glow to your gathering by using antique glass containers as candle holders. 

    Work with your event planner to consider alternatives for recycling after the party. Many local farmers (or a local community garden) will gladly take the compostable leftovers and of course bottles and cans can be recycled. 

    In the Spirit of Green 
    Many wineries and vodka producers are pursuing organic methods for eco-friendly production. Notable vineyards with tasty track records include: Heller Estates, Frog’s Leap, Bonterra and Lolonis. I like to purchase several magnums (to reduce container waste) rather than numerous bottles for larger events.  McCormick Distilling Company, Inc., has recently introduced 360 Vodka, the world’s first premium, “eco-luxury” vodka, through its new division, Earth Friendly Distilling Company. 360 Vodka is eco-friendly in every stage of the distilling, packaging and marketing ( 

    Other considerations:
    Talk to the hotel or venue you are renting about using a china and linen service rather than disposable items. Provide water in pitchers as opposed to water bottles and be sure to look into places that accept donations of any unserved food. Most Community Food Banks and Shelters will gladly pick up items from your event. Hold your event in a location easily accessible by public transportation and make a big fuss about offering awards to any carpoolers or those taking public transportation! Wrap up a stash of organic goodies in biodegradable or recyclable gift wrap for your awards. Paporganics ( offers gift wrap designs printed with vegetable-based inks on generous sheets of hemp-blend paper.

    Tony Conway, CMP
    A Legendary Event

    Founded in 1997 by Tony Conway, A Legendary Event is now the Southeast’s premiere catering, event décor, and floral company, coordinating more than 1,200 events each year. A Legendary Event stands behind its mission and promise to provide World-Class Cuisine, Gracious Service, and Exquisite Décor. For more information, please visit
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