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Marie Bette: A model for Charlottesville Restaurants

Marie Bette is a great example of a restaurant that is really on the forefront of implementing very effective environmental policies. We visited their production facility on Preston Avenue the week before Thanksgiving and they gave us a brief overview of their various food-related environmental actions, as well as some of their more basic actions (LEDs, etc.) Marie Bette uses Black Bear composting as their compost provider. They explained to us that they have so much compost every week that their bins are overflowing. Having this much compost is great, as it keeps all of the food out of a landfill. They compost in both their production facility and their restaurants, and this was a very inexpensive task for them to implement. They also explained that while composting is easier in the production facility because the pace is slightly slower, they do also take the time to compost the leftover food in their restaurants.

In the Marie Bette restaurants, plastic straws are not an option for customers. Paper straws are used and only given to customers if asked for. The employees take the time to scrape leftover food off of the plates and into the compost bin which should definitely be appreciated. There isn’t an excessive amount of food waste because they serve reasonable portions. Customers use silverware in the self-serve section and main dining area, but something that could be improved is the use of plastic utensils in the takeout. Although an alternative material would be better, they don’t automatically put these plastic utensils inside the box, so if a customer has their own utensils at home they are able to use those instead. It is encouraged to bring in your own mug for beverages.

In the production center as far as food waste goes, they repurpose things such as scraps from making pastry, and other materials they might have left over. They also have a walk-in freezer which keeps things fresh and edible for longer periods of time, and their production is seasonal, so in the summer and spring they might make less than in winter and fall, depending on the number of customers that they have at that time of year. Overall Marie Bette is a fantastic model of a restaurant and facility that really cares about their environmental impact, and should be looked to as an example for other restaurants.

Image courtesy of Yelp

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