Dining out should be a pretty guilt-free experience, right? In the UK alone, the restaurant industry produces a huge 915,400 tonnes of waste per year, with 199,100 tonnes amounting from the food itself. According to a survey conducted by Wrap.org.uk of the hospitality sector, on average 21% of food waste arises from spoilage; 45% from food preparation and 34% from consumer plates.
Which is why zero-waste restaurants are aiming to make a closed loop system where everything’s end-of-life has been considered. We bring you the most innovative restaurants who have either achieved 100% zero waste, or are on their way to becoming it.
Taking it way back to our roots, Silo’s innovative zero-waste restaurant takes a primitive, pre-industrial food system. Beginning in 2011 with artist Joost Bakker who aimed to create a kitchen with no bin, the concept grew into becoming the world’s first ever zero waste restaurant. Silo’s main aim is to show respect for the environment – everything is considered; the tables are made from reconstituted food packaging and the plates are recycled plastic bags. Even the way the food is delivered to the restaurant is thought through, with all food transported in reusable vessels. The Siloaf with aged butter for the table is meant to be out of this world, followed by the King Oyster Mushroom with Koji porridge.
Unit 7, The white building, 1st Floor,c/o CRATE Bar, Queen's Yard, London E9 5EN
“Eating as nature intended”, the brilliant minds of Farmacy have been championing local, organic and biodynamic farming since its opening in 2016. All ingredients are either grown on their farm in Kent, or sourced locally from sustainable and environmentally conscious suppliers. They use every part of the product, so that none of their ingredients go to waste. Head there from brunch, lunch, high tea or cocktails.
74 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W2 5SH
Situated in the iconic Somerset House is Spring. This light-filled, airy restaurant is home to the Scratch Menu, available daily between 5.30-6.30pm. This menu turns waste produce into absolute magic – creating insanely beautiful and delicious plates using ingredients that are often dismissed. With 40% of all fruit and veg grown in the UK discarded before they even reach the shelf, Spring aims to draw attention to what you can make from unloved produce. Examples include Outer radicchio and beetroot leaf salad with feta, crispy broad bean shells and “yesterday’s” sourdough croutons. Sign us up.
Somerset House, New Wing, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA
Café Van Gogh
This local, not-for-profit social enterprise café in Brixton not only aims to be completely zero waste, but also works to do good within the local community. Working with Toucan Employment, Café Van Gogh run on-the-job training for people with learning disabilities, or mental health problems, providing them with paid employment opportunities once the opportunity arises. They compost all food waste, do not use single plastics, and ensure everything is fully compostable. Try their Sunday Nut and Butternut Wellington Roast or Blueberry Pancakes for Saturday Brunch.
88 Brixton Rd, Vassal, London SW9 6BE
Not quite zero-waste yet, but on its journey, AT Feast is a family-centric food hub working with local suppliers to source sustainable, organic and natural ingredients. This all-day brasserie plus a dining school in St John’s Wood is all about the community, and even turns into a cocktail bar at night hosting live music nights and supper clubs.
49-51 St John’s Wood High Street, London, NW8 7NJ