A Shattuck Avenue pizza shop that opened for business in August has become Alameda County’s first restaurant to be certified “green” by the Bay Area Green Business Program.
Extreme Pizza, a sports-themed pizza parlor located at 2352 Shattuck Ave., is the first East Bay location for the burgeoning San Francisco-based Extreme Pizza chain.
Melanie Sheaves, general manager of the Berkeley restaurant, says that its commitment to sound environmental practices comes directly from the chain’s owners. A long-term Extreme Pizza employee, she said that the company’s green practices are one of the reasons she enjoys working for it.
“I’m very proud of it, absolutely,” she said.
Sheaves says that the Green Business Program did an extensive inspection of the restaurant immediately after construction of it was finished. Everything from the restaurant’s low-flow faucets to its recycling procedures were scrutinized before the certification was awarded.
Environmental considerations were at the forefront of the shop’s design. Furniture at the restaurant, for instance, is made entirely of recycled materials.
“Because we built this store from the ground up, we got to customize everything,” said Sheaves.
Extreme Pizza has an extensive “reduce and recycle” program, said Sheaves. Tables are wiped with cloth, not paper, towels. Napkins are made from bleach-free recycled paper. Leftover food is donated to programs serving the homeless.
“The only things we don’t recycle is food that goes bad – which is hardly anything,” she said.
The Green Business Program, which is sponsored by local governments, utility companies and the Association of Bay Area Governments, has only recently come up with environmental standards for the restaurant industry.
Susan Sasaki, GBP consultant, said that in addition to certifying businesses, the program provides aid to companies in complying with local and county regulations.
“From the beginning, we’ve focused on technical assistance to small businesses,” she said.
The GBP has already developed standards for green auto shops, printers, hotels and other industries. Seventy Alameda county businesses are already green-certified under guidelines specific to those industries. The GBP’s next project, Sasaki said, is to devise guidelines for landscaping firms.
Sasaki said that going green is a sound business move.
“Businesses benefit economically by being green,” she said. “They save money by being energy-efficient, but they also get more business.”
Presumably, too, in the environmentally-aware East Bay, green businesses earn the respect and devotion of employees like Sheaves.
“I still live in San Francisco,” she said. “But I take BART to work.”
The Green Business Program can be contacted at 531-5377.