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The rise of “Zero-Waste” Restaurants

The rise of “Zero-Waste” Restaurants

A number of restaurant operators and diners have in common a “throwaway culture”. This is no longer acceptable.

The zero-waste movement is growing faster and faster, as we can see – in the first place – in the restaurant industry. Every day, diners bring reusable containers to quick-serve restaurants, signing up for zero-waste food-delivery platforms, and choosing “Reusable Containers” and “No Utensils” when ordering.

According to SustainableBrands.com, “Americans use 1.5 billion pounds of disposable food containers annually, and recycling and composting cannot keep up with this volume. This is why Just Salad, a restaurant chain with 41 US locations, is piloting a zero-waste model for online food ordering. Starting at one of its New York City stores, customers can order online in a reusable bowl and bring it back to the store for washing and sanitation. In the first few weeks of the pilot, over 20 percent of pickup orders are coming in through this program, with no marketing or promotion.”

How To Implement Zero-Waste Strategies?

According to Marketman.com, here are some ideas to implement or start Zero-Waste strategies in a restaurant and/or pub:

  • Conduct a waste audit to find waste-generating areas;
  • Order perishable ingredients in small batches and dry ingredients in bulk;
  • Install water filters on taps;
  • Use every part of the vegetables and fruit you buy;
  • Provide easily accessible recycling and composting bins;
  • Shop seasonally and buy locally;
  • Offer smaller portion sizes to reduce food leftover on plates;
  • Advise customers on the right amount of food to order;
  • Promote taking leftovers home;
  • Offer compostable containers for takeaways and encourage customers to bring their own reusable containers.

Do you need some inspiration? Here are some Zero(or Low)-Waste restaurants around the Globe according to Brad Donaldson’s article on Passion Passport:

  1. Silo, England
    Every aspect of Silo is eco-friendly — even the building itself.

  2. Haven’s Kitchen, U.S.A.
    As a multipurpose space, Haven’s lends itself to an all-day café, social hub, and private event venue for weddings, meet-and-greets, and even cooking classes.
  1. Instock, the Netherlands
    Instead of letting products like blemished fruits and vegetables, day-old bread, and surplus meats go in the trash, Instock purchases them from local Albert Heijn supermarkets.
  1. HERMANN’S, Berlin, Germany
    This is a locale where people push the limits of just how sustainable a restaurant can be, by changing not just what we eat, but our mindset around it as well.
  1. MANA!, Hong Kong
    With a mantra of “Food that doesn’t cost the Earth,” the company aims to change fast food for the better with plant-based nutrition and a zero-waste mission, promoting a sustainable lifestyle for people in Hong Kong and beyond.


Tags: Global sight