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Food

Pita Pit: Eat Green in Philadelphia!

Pita PitLooking for somewhere to eat downtown?  Philadelphia’s first (and currently only)Certified Green Restaurant by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA) is officially the Pita Pit, located at 16th & Sansom.

I fell in love with Pita Pit at Penn State’s location (We are!)  Their speciality is pita sandwiches, a healthier alternative to fast food.  I was psyched to hear they went green and wanted to learn more about it.

I sat down to speak with one of the owners, (fellow Penn Stater) Adam Green, to talk about his green restaurant.  Green mentioned how they wanted to take small actions in order to have a bigger impact and found the process pretty easy.  One of the coolest parts of Pita Pit is their ‘turning green’ was because they wanted to (not to be trendy or for marketing, although that was an unexpected bonus). They also want other restaurants to follow in their footsteps for a positive change.

One misconception is businesses need solar panels to go green. But, it’s the little things that count.  Owners Green & Adam Palmer started working with the GRA in May to get green certified and completed the process in July.  To be green-certified, Green & Palmer must take four green steps per year.

Here’s some of the Green habits Pita Pit’s practicing:

  • Recycling
  • No Styrofoam
  • Water aerators to limit water flow
  • Bio-degradable cutlery, cups & lids (made from corn)
  • Bio-degradable merchandise bags (corn)
  • Canvas bags available to purchase
  • CFL bulbs
  • Motion-sensored bathroom lights
  • Bike Deliveries for food
  • Non-toxic cleaning supplies
  • New uniforms will have logo ‘Go Green with Pita Pit’
  • Employees use own silverware & cups

Philadelphia currently doesn’t have a recycling program for businesses.  Choosing to be green can come with a price, often a deterrent for private businesses. For example, bio-degradable cutlery, cups, lids and merchandise bags do cost more than the non-green alternatives.

However, Pita Pit made some small changes (like keeping cutlery behind the counter to limit amount customers take) to compensate for the extra costs.  This is an example of how businesses can make greener choices without incuring huge costs.

Next year, Pita Pit will be looking to continue their eco-changes by changing prints/menus, getting energy efficient hand dryers, & working on their catering goods.

When you’re hungry from cheering on the Eagles or Nittany Lions, go grab a Pita at 1601 Sansom (Philly) or  one of their other locations: 218 E. Calder Way (State College).

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

4 thoughts on “Pita Pit: Eat Green in Philadelphia!

  1. Hi julie!!

    This is great! I think there is also a pita pit in West Chester! Just in case you don’t live in the city.

  2. Uh… calling a restaurant “green” when it doesn’t source it’s food locally is a farce. The pitas come from Canada, the olives from Europe, the chicken from god knows where but certainly nowhere near Philly. The carbon emitted from transporting all this far outweighs the small steps they’ve taken here.

  3. Brian, that’s a good point. Although I can’t verify where Pita Pit gets their food from whether far or away, it’s very difficult to be completely green nowadays. Just read my entry “calculating your carbon footprint” to see how confusing making green choices can be.

    Regardless, Pita Pit is taking steps in a a great direction. The problem you’re referring to is the emissions caused from shipping, or from trucks/planes/etc. This can only get better if Congress tightens automobile Gas/Emissions Standards – So be proactive about this problem – Give your local Congress person a call, or send them an email requesting to tighten fuel efficiency standards. Or, try contacting food distribution companies to tell them the advantages of using hybid trucks and vehicles to transport goods.

    Glad you’re thinking about being completely green! Anyone else have ideas about restaurants trying to be green?

  4. appetitesdelight in wayne uses those plastic baskets with thin tissue paper as their everyday china instead of some places that toss you a frisbee sized paper plate.

    plus they have a recycling bin right next to their trash bin.

    they also donate their 1 day old bread (delivered from amoroso’s daily) to churches and foodbanks

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