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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

August 26, 2008 at 7:00 AM

More detail on Microsoft environmentally sustainable food service, Certified Green Restaurants

ELLEN M. BANNER/THE SEATTLE TIMES

Composting at Microsoft.

In addition to the compostable utensils, expanded recycling and composting outlined in today’s story, Microsoft is pushing ahead with more changes to its food-service practices in 2009.

As part of the five-year contract it signed with the Green Restaurant Association, Microsoft will undertake at least four specific goals each year.

Here’s a sample of what’s on deck for the coming year:

— Increase organic and sustainable seafood offerings to 30 percent of the menu;

— Install low-flow aerators and spray valves on sinks;

— Change to cleaning chemicals that reduce packaging and chemical waste.

Michael Oshman, founder and executive director of the Green Restaurant Association, told me that his 18-year-old organization does collect a fee from the organizations it works with for consulting, education and marketing, as well as auditing to ensure that they maintain their status as Certified Green Restaurant.

Neither he nor Microsoft disclosed the fee. He said a small restaurant doing $900,000 in sales a year would pay an annual fee of $900 to $1,000.

Microsoft is one of three organizations listed in the GRA’s restaurant guide. The others are Tidbit Bistro in Seattle and the Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park.

The University of Washington has had compostable utensils and composting as part of its food service since 2008, as we explained in a story last week. We asked people whether this kind of program would attract them to a restaurant. Here are their responses. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

For insight into what one Microsoft employee thinks of the changes, check out the blog posts of Adam Barr:

“Overall this looks like a great success. … Nowadays, when I have lunch in the cafeteria, I usually produce no trash: aluminum cans go into the recycling and everything else (napkins, plates, cutlery and food scraps) goes into the composting.”

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