Food Waste (part 2) – Dining out…

The cafes and restaurants tackling food waste

So you’ve checked what food you’ve got in the house, written a shopping list to make sure you don’t buy things you don’t need and taken your reusable containers to your local bulk store, buying other items from discounted surplus stores. It’s now the end of a hard week and you fancy letting someone else do the cooking but how do you avoid adding to the waste problem when it’s out of your hands?

As part of #zerowasteweek (4th-8th September) and the second in a three-part series on food waste (read part 1 here) we decided to look at the cafes and restaurants shaking things up in the hospitality industry to tackle food waste.

The Real Junk Food Project (various locations) 

A global network of organic “pay as you feel” cafes that make delicious, healthy meals from food that was destined for waste.

Silo (Brighton, UK)
Silo is a zero waste restaurant in Brighton. “Designed from back to front, always with the bin in mind”. To eliminate waste Silo trades directly with farmers, using reusable containers/crates and choosing ingredients that don’t generate waste. A compost machine inside the restaurant turns food scraps into compost, which is used to produce more food. The restaurant furniture and fittings are mainly upcycled with Silo choosing upcycling over recycling, where possible.  

Tiny Leaf (London, UK)

“London’s first and only organic, zero waste, vegetarian restaurant” Tiny Leaf’s menu uses organic surplus food stock supplied by local food suppliers and supermarkets, farms, distributors, plant breeders and retailers.

Freegan Pony (Paris, France)
A vegetarian pay as you feel/can restaurant that sources its ingredients from food destined for the bin from local markets.

Instock (Amsterdam, The Hague & Utrecht, Netherlands) 

Instock turns surplus food into meals to tackle food waste. They have three restaurants (The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht) and a food truck that is available for events and private functions. They also produce locally brewed craft beer, Pieper Beer, from potatoes that would otherwise have been wasted (“pieper” is Dutch for potato).

Poco Tapas Bar (London & Bristol, UK)

Winner of the 2016 Sustainable Restaurant of the year, as well as Best English and Best Independent at the Food Made Good sustainable restaurant awards, Poco Tapas Bar composts and recycles 95-100% of its waste. Where possible food and ingredients are bought directly from farms and producers that follow Slow Food values. If there’s waste in the kitchen, it’s recorded, including reasons and actions to prevent it from happening again. If there’s regular plate waste of specific dishes or elements of dishes, it’s recorded and dishes are adapted accordingly. Read more about Poco Tapas Bar’s ethics here. 

Closed Loop (facilities across Australia, New Zealand and the UK)


Not a restaurant but if you own a cafe or restaurant it might be worth taking a look at Closed Loop’s technology which converts food waste into compost in 24 hours.

And if you don’t live near any of the places above? Ask for a doggy bag. According to the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Too Good to Waste campaign, it’s estimated that UK restaurants produce over 1.6 million tonnes of waste a year, around 600,000 tonnes of which is food with 30% coming from customers’ plates.

Do you know of any other cafes or restaurants that should be included above? Give me a shout here or @HMHtweets

Or maybe your social enterprise or non-profit needs some expert support? Find out more on how I can help you here.