How a London restaurant has zero waste

by Ofentse Sefolo
How a London restaurant has zero waste

Douglas McMaster, chef owner of Silo, a restaurant in Hackney Wick in London, has set out to create zero waste in the restaurant through the sustainable furniture and the zero-waste food production processes implemented at the eatery. With a belief that comfort, style and luxury are achievable within a sustainable framework, the team from Nina+Co, a London interior design studio, developed the restaurant interior to reflect the sustainability ethos of the owner.

Staff members at Silo make the most of ingredients, with less-than-perfect fruit and vegetables blended into smoothies and meat prepared with a nose-to-tail approach, using every part of the animal instead of just popular cuts. Butter and oat milk are made in-house, while delivered produce arrive in reusable containers, crates or pails. Food is served on plates made of recycled plastic bags and food that isn’t eaten, is placed into an on-site composting machine.

Ethically-minded customers want to know they are eating at restaurants where food is not wasted unnecessarily and often prefer eco-friendly furnishings, as they don’t want to contribute to environmental problems. The team at Nina+Co used circular thinking, sustainable materials in furniture, and considered how furnishings would biodegrade or be disassembled for repurposing in future.

An extensive fluted bar counter made of recycled plastic packaging is the centre feature of the modern white-painted dining room in the restaurant. A row of cream stool seats are placed along the length of the bar, so guests can sit and watch dishes being created in the open kitchen lined with blackened timber beams. PHOTO: Sam A Harris

Recycled plastic has been used to create the flecked top dining tables, featuring cork detail, supported by cylindrical legs made from sustainably-sourced ash wood. The restaurant’s wall lights, made up of a trio of circular dishes with a bulb in the middle, have been created by a local potter who crushed, moulded and kiln-fired wine bottles used during previous dinner sessions at the restaurant. PHOTO: Sam A Harris

Mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi, has been used to create the pendant lamps above the tables and seating poufs in the lounge area, where guests can enjoy cocktails. The tables and stools are strong, yet lightweight, with material similar to Nubuck leather, and resemble honed travertine stone. PHOTO: Sam A Harris

Zero-waste restaurants are growing in popularity, as the food industry and customers become more aware of environmental problems. If a small pioneering restaurant such as Silo can achieve the sustainable results they have achieved in this restaurant, it is promising to imagine what the entire hospitality industry can achieve if they all start transforming their spaces.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Nina + Co for the information in this article.

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