Whole Life Magazine

April / May 2017

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Page 11 of 43

I f you live in or enjoy the beach cities in the Los Angeles area, making those beautiful ocean waters clean and safe is likely a priority. The Bay Foundation's Clean Bay Restaurant Certifi ca- tion Program aims to keep it that way. The program recognizes restaurants in cities including Mal- ibu, Santa Monica, Culver City, Inglewood, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, and Rolling Hills Estates for inte- grating sustainability and techniques to support ocean health in their operation. The goal? To improve water quality by re- ducing stormwater runoff pollution generated by restaurants. Approximately 415 restaurants are currently certifi ed in 11 par- ticipating cities, from the elegant The Strand House in Manhat- tan Beach to the casu- al Blaze Pizza in Culver City to the delicious and friendly Fast Taco in Santa Monica. Certifying restaurants is important, because an average restau- rant uses 300,000 gal- lons of water every year, and throws out 150,000 pounds of garbage. With some 30,000 eat- eries in the Santa Monica Bay area, fi gures like these pack a lot of pol- luting impact. This pollution af- fects people, ma- rine life, and even the chemistry of the ocean itself, creating a serious problem for Santa Monica Bay. Every year, 30 billion gallons of untreated runoff fl ow into the bay — which means it's crucial for restaurants in the Santa Monica Bay Watershed to practice pollution prevention. The Clean Bay Restaurant program is taking a step to great- ly lessen that impact, by collaborating with local cities and through public outreach. The program works to inspect and certify restaurants that voluntarily implement initiatives to protect the environment. Conducting rigorous inspections, the program assists restaurants in properly managing waste such as oils, grease, and food scraps, which can end up in the storm drain system. And, to assist the general public, Clean Bay offers an inter- active map and links to the restaurants that go above and beyond permit re- quirements for stormwater management and support their initiatives. According to Grace Lee, The Bay Foundation's direc- tor of outreach programs, "The Clean Bay Certifi ed program's goal is to help cities and restaurants properly manage these wastes, which directly im- proves the health of Santa Monica Bay." Clean Bay Certifi ed restaurants must achieve 100% compli- ance with initiatives, which include a full recycling program, eliminating the use of toxic cleaning products outdoors, and establishing water conservation measures. Additionally, elim- inating the use of polystyrene take-out containers and using dry-sweeping versus mopping with water are key elements of the certifi cation compliance. Also required is the fulfi lment of two out of twelve optional certifi cation areas, such as instituting local food purchasing, offering bike racks for employees, par- ticipating in a sustainable seafood program, or composting. Participating restaurants in the Inglewood area, for example, are connected with compost hubs, urban farms, and communi- ty gardens, with The Bay Foundation collecting wasted food for compost. Lee says the composting pilot program "adds anoth- er dimension to the Clean Bay Certifi cation program...restau- rants can affect healthier air quality and food access in their community by minimizing food waste to landfi lls." With more than 50% of Santa Monica Bay Watershed cities on board, The Bay Foundation is hoping those not involved in the Clean Bay Certifi cation program will join. After all, residents can use the information in the program to support restaurants taking steps to help the environment, and in so doing help prevent millions of pounds of trash from winding up in the bay. In short, your dining dollars can work to heal the bay. To fi nd Clean Bay Restaurants in your community, simply go to http://www.santamonicabay.org/explore/our-communities/ clean-bay-restaurants/ city of angels By Genie Davis A Stamp a Seal Could Approve CLEAN BAY CERTIFIED RESTAURANTS Photos: The Bay Foundation 12 wholelifetimes.com

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