How to Be More Sustainable in Pittsburgh: Restaurants, Brands, and Resources You Should Know

If you’re looking to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, here’s how to get started

Main image courtesy of Jing Daily

Sustainability: it’s a hot topic nowadays, and one that has become increasingly polarized and politicized. However, at its core, sustainability is just about using the earth’s resources in a way that is responsible and will last for future generations to come. 

You can incorporate elements of sustainability into your own life, whether that’s through the food that you buy and eat, the clothing that you wear, or the daily habits that you partake in without even realizing it! If you’re looking to be more sustainable here in Pittsburgh, this is how you should start. 

Restaurants

You may not have thought about it or realized it, but the places that you eat at play a huge role in determining your ecological footprint. If you’re a huge fan of seafood, for example, but constantly eat at a place that gets its ingredients through harmful environmental practices, such as overfishing, you may be indirectly harming the ecosystem. If you want to live more sustainably, try to look for restaurants that have sustainably sourced ingredients and take care to minimize the harms they do to the environment. 

Sustainable Pittsburgh has compiled a list of restaurants in Pittsburgh that they determine to be “good for people, the planet, the restaurant industry, and our economy.” The key values they look for in restaurants include waste reduction, water conservation, and responsible sourcing. The organization has different levels they attribute to restaurants, ranging from bronze to platinum. Here are some of the ones ranked platinum on the list:

The Porch at Schenley

The Porch
Offering seasonal menus and a patio, The Porch is a wonderful place to grab any meal at. Image courtesy of The Porch.

The Porch at Schenley is an American restaurant located in Schenley Plaza in the heart of Oakland. Their food is locally sourced and they have a rooftop garden as well! The Porch at Schenley puts genuine effort into giving back to the community and empowering people to live and eat more sustainably. 

They offer a variety of daily specials, including a soup of the day, and have some vegetarian options as well as meals catered towards kids. 

Square Cafe

Square Cafe
Square Cafe is a local, woman-owned restaurant! Image courtesy of The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle —  The Times of Israel.

Square Cafe is located in East Liberty and is known for its seasonal, local menu with a variety of breakfast and lunch options. They offer a diverse range of food options to accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets. 

Square Cafe also serves as a gallery that showcases the art of local artists! They are heavily engaged with the community, working with non-profit organizations on fundraisers and special events to empower and uplift talented individuals in the area. 

Brands

When it comes to sustainable fashion, thrifting is a great way to reduce your environmental impact while also being able to save money! However, this isn’t always realistic for everyone, and constantly buying from thrift stores when you don’t financially have to can raise prices for people who depend on their stores and aren’t otherwise able to afford clothing. 

Don’t worry! There are plenty of sustainable fashion brands based here in Pittsburgh that can take your closet to the next level. 

Knotzland

Knotzland
Knotzland was awarded the title of Best Local Brand in 2022 by The Manual! Image courtesy of PG&H.

Knotzland Bowtie Co., or Knotzland, is located in Wilkinsburg. It was founded by Nisha Blackwell in 2014, and her bow ties are made of high-quality recycled materials that help to reduce the waste that goes into landfills. She also mentors women in the community on sewing and teaches them entrepreneurship concepts. 

Knotzland has participated in sustainable initiatives such as Amplifying Black Voices in Sustainability and the Living Future Conference. In terms of products, they offer custom bow ties and bow ties for special events like weddings!

Flux Bene

Flux Bene
Flux Bene is a textile art and design studio based in Pittsburgh. Image courtesy of Flux Bene.

Flux Bene produces zero-waste, gender neutral clothing that is functional and sustainable. Designs are created by seamstresses who combine existing garments with upcycled new materials for their pieces. They use hand-dyeing techniques and all of the design and production is done right here in Pittsburgh!

You can shop their new pieces or sewing patterns on their website, and you can also see their tally of reused garments, which is currently at 1,704 as of April 4. 

Three Pigs Vintage

Three Pigs Vintage
Three Pigs Vintage or Three Pigs Collective beautifully combines art with fashion. Image courtesy of NEXTpittsburgh.

Three Pigs Vintage was founded in 2018 by Sadie Shoaf, a stylist and painter. The collective draws inspiration from the 1960s to the 2000s, blending vintage fashion with modern ideas. They offer products that are hand painted and hand dyed, and sell clothing, accessories, and home decor. 

They have three lookbooks you can explore on their website: Cosmic Serpent, Dave Watt x Three Pigs, and Water’s Edge. They also have a blog and photo stories to check out! A portion of shop sales go to organizations fighting injustice and directly to Black and brown individuals. 

More Resources

If you’re looking for more sustainability resources in Pittsburgh, check out Sustainable Pittsburgh on the Visit Pittsburgh website. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter. 

Although transitioning to a more sustainable lifestyle is a complex, and often difficult, process, it’s well worth it. You’ll be reducing your ecological footprint while also giving back to the community by supporting local initiatives and talent!

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Aarushi Pant

Aarushi Pant is a writer, animal lover, and activist.
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