Besides making fabulous food, Osteria Leana, a new restaurant in Oyster Bay, owned by executive chef Peter Van Der Mije and his wife Heather, is one of only two restaurants on Long Island that have a “green” certification. What exactly is a green certification? In 1990, a US based, non-profit organization called the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) began providing certification to restaurants who made an effort to become more environmentally responsible. Since it began, the GRA has been building an extensive database of environmental goals specifically for the restaurant industry.
The purpose of the GRA standards is “to provide a transparent way to measure each restaurant’s environmental accomplishments, while providing a pathway for the next steps each restaurant can take towards increased environmental sustainability.”
In total, there are seven environmental categories which restaurants can participate in. They are in water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable durable goods and building materials, energy, sustainable food, reusables and environmentally preferable disposables, and chemical and pollution reduction.
Osteria Leana has obtained a Level One certification, which means that all of their packaging is recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. They have a Vero Water filtration system which reduces waste by eliminating plastic and excess water bottles. Water served at the tables are put into reusable glass water bottles.
“We are also able to decrease our carbon footprint since we are not importing or trucking water from all over,” said Heather Van Der Mije. “Everything is filtered through the system right here in the restaurant.”
The restaurant also gained “green” points by using Eco Logic Solutions cleaning products which are non-toxic and beneficial to the environment. It is a safer solution for employees as well, who use the products daily, and chemicals are not getting washed away from drains into the local waterways. So it is good for the ecosystem in Oyster Bay.
They also earned points by offering several vegetarian options on the menu. By serving plant-based meals, it reduces the carbon footprint because there is less animal waste, and it ultimately saves both water and land.
What is also interesting is that Osteria Leana has very little waste. They are considered a “scratch” restaurant because there are not many food scraps that get thrown away. Practically everything is used in some way, and what little waste they do collect, mainly from fruits and vegetables, gets composted at the Van Der Mije’s home compost system in Locust Valley.
Osteria Leana is a shining example of how restaurants on Long Island can be more environmentally conscious. At the same time, it is bringing awareness to consumers, who may find their own ways to make a difference in the world.
“We are trying to do our part for the environment,” said Heather, “and for the most part, it’s very simple to do.”
Osteria Leana is located at 76 South Street in Oyster Bay. To learn more about the restaurant and the wonderful food they serve, check out Kerriann Eats.