Our Commitment to Being an Environmentally Friendly Restaurant

Practice Earth Kindness 

This is one of the Rio’s core values – to care for our planet while we care for our staff and guests.

Since it’s beginning, the Rio has always been passionate about the environment and making every possible effort to follow environmentally sustainable practices. Among the most core values at the center of the Rio as a company, caring for the Earth is held high on the list. In fact, The Rio Grande in Fort Collins has been recognized and ranked by Climate Wise for 5 years in a row at different levels for our constant efforts to find more ways to protect the Earth and be an environmentally friendly restaurant! 

Climate Wise is a local organization, in conjunction with the City of Fort Collins, that “offers simple solutions to help Fort Collins Businesses reduce their impact, save money and gain recognition for their achievements in energy and water conservation, waste reduction, alternative transportation, and social responsibility.” (https://www.fcgov.com/climatewise/) 2018 was the second year in a row that the Fort Collins Rio has been honored to receive a Platinum ranking. 

How do we care for the planet at the Rio?


  • Use LED light bulbs throughout all restaurant locations and managing energy usage with sensors. Have you ever walked into the restroom and it’s dark? That’s because of the motion sensor we use to reduce energy waste. 
  • Make it a priority in the budget to purchase toilets that help to conserve water


  • We provide bike racks at each of our locations and encourage staff to ride into work
  • The Fort Collins Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant location is conveniently located on Mason and Mountain, near a Max bus stop, to give options to staff and guests.  All of our locations are near public transportation for a reason! 


  • Promote health and wellness to our staff through local gym membership discounts, free entry to a variety of races, host a weekly softball or volleyball team, and more!
  • We support Alcoholics Anonymous by providing a space free-of-charge in our Agave Room for them to meet weekly for the last 10+ years
  • We sponsor the Rio Elite cycling team and are honored to have supported some of the top cyclists in the world! Some who have actually competed in Tour de France!
  • We support local events, charities, and fundraisers such as Great Plates, Rams Against Hunger, Bike to Work Day, the Horsetooth Half Marathon
  • We donate to food banks and food-related programs across the state. 
  • The No Straw Movement – we no longer serve drinks with a straw (except the frozen margs) and only offer straws upon request to reduce our waste


  • We have aerators on all of the sinks 
  • We have been budgeting and saving for water-efficient toilets to be installed in the future, with some of our locations already including water-efficient toilets!
  • Leaving more time between cleanings of the signature fountains on our beautiful patios


  • We sort through various types of recycling and garbage disposal
  • We have worked with artists to collect and donate empty glass bottles for installations and projects
  • We have made multiple efforts to compost in previous years and continue to strive to find methods to continue our composting practices (the large companies in Northern Colorado discontinued their composting services due to a rise in prices on transportation and pick up, so the next place to turn to is local farmers HOWEVER they cannot manage the high amount of waste produced by the Rio. There is a light at the end of the tunnel within the next 5 years, if politics allow.) 

These are just a few of the things that we commit to doing at the Rio to be environmentally friendly and to help minimize our impact, and while ClimateWise is Fort Collins specific, we carry these trends and habits to all 6 Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant locations in Colorado. We continue to do our best to reduce our waste and work hard with local policies to recycle and compost. Similarly, we work with our food providers to source food locally to reduce our carbon footprint for food transportation. 

We always welcome more ways to help our environment! If you have recommendations, you can email us directly at marketing@riograndemexican.com


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