One man’s trash doesn’t exist – it’s all treasure at the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant…

Armed with a £22,000 compost machine, Douglas McMaster has achieved what may seem impossible and opened the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant, Silo, in Brighton. With a menu consisting of only six dishes, infused with variety yet all the while reliant on seasonal produce, the restaurant ditches heat lamps in favour of serving food as soon as it’s prepared, by a waiter who also happens to be the chef.

This trend follows in the footsteps of Chicago-based Sandwich Me In, a shop which is yet to send any waste to landfill despite opening two years ago. Whilst this may be true, the restaurant has created eight gallons of waste, however this was formed into a sculpture by a local artist, rather than being chucked away. An alternate technique adopted by Japanese restaurant Wafu in Syndey, Australia in an attempt to reduce food waste was to give diners a 30-per-cent discount on their meals if they have no leftovers.

The food waste produced by pubs, cafes and restaurants comes from surprising sources. Thanks to incorrectly prepared food, trim waste and spoiled food, an estimated 4 to 10 per cent of food becomes waste before it even reaches the table. Further waste is generated through poor storage, fussy eating, cosmetic preferences, over-buying and a whole host of other practices.

Jamie Oliver, TV chef and junk food combatant, has joined the war on waste, stating that the nation’s food waste could feed a small African country, following the release of a staggering statistic which suggests that 30 to 40 per cent of all food in the UK becomes waste.

Fareshare have adopted an alternative approach and are instead attempting to channel food waste into a worthy cause. Last year, the charity provided an incredible 620,000 meals solely within the South West region to help tackle food poverty, with an incredible 345 tonnes of food which would otherwise have gone to landfill. However, this is a mere sample of the good work which could be achieved, as Fareshare say a further eight million meals could be created with the waste they aren’t using. Still, it is undeniable that they are doing magnificent work, despite only using 1.5 per cent of surplus food.

And so, with restaurants, charities and even a celebrity chef joining the food waste debate, we can only wonder if conscientious cuisine is to become the newest food fad, the first step towards a more sustainable future, or simply a drop in the ocean soon to be forgotten and replaced by a different mealtime movement. Only time will tell.


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