Food waste is one of the major challenges our world has to overcome or address. In the US alone, food waste and packaging account for nearly half of the material sent to landfills. While some restaurants like McDonald’s and Starbucks have launched efforts to minimize waste such as reductions on single-serve plastics and “no straw Mondays,” these aren’t going to be a huge change.
|Credits: World Economic Forum|
Thus, many other restaurants are launching zero-waste efforts to help in addressing our problems with food waste. “Everybody’s realizing there has to be a change,” David Johannes Suchy, co-owner of Frea, a year-old, zero-waste vegan restaurant in Berlin, said. For instance, restaurant and wine bar Rhodora in Brooklyn doesn’t generate anything to throw away. They don’t allow any type of single-use plastic and only use a shredder to turn cardboard wine boxes into compost material.
|Credits: Smithsonian Mag|
Restaurants are going all-in with their zero-waste initiatives not only because of their environmental impacts but because they can also save a lot of money. According to Smithsonian Mag, the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., one study shows that restaurants save $7 for every $1 invested in anti-waste methods.
“Food waste has been gathering real momentum as an issue for restaurants over the last ten years or so. With…food waste globally accounting for 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, the environmental case is compelling,” Andrew Stephen, CEO of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, a UK-based organization that helps food businesses become more environmentally responsible, said.
|Credits: Hospitality Net|
Zero-waste restaurants also highlight the sustainable designs of their establishments. London’s Silo, considered by some to be the finest zero-waste restaurant in the world, is using plates made from recycled plastic bags and tables from packaging waste. Its bar stools are made from mycelium, purpose-grown in molds then baked until solid, while wall fixtures are made from crushed wine bottles while a ceiling fixture is crafted from dried seaweed.