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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Zero-Waste London

According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the hospitality and food service sector is responsible for one million tonnes of the UK’s food waste. There are over 56,000 restaurants in the UK, in addition to the 100,000 pubs, takeaways and cafes, to put things into perspective. I enjoy a meal out or two but, whilst I profess to being able to eat more than most people, even am guilty of leaving food on my plate from time to time. A strong advocate of the Tupperware, I normally ask if I can take my leftovers home – a chicken biryani, for example, I argue tastes far better the next day.

Sustainability and the care we are giving to the planet has risen in both trendiness and productivity; the former might be met with a sneer but, ultimately, it secures the latter. After WRAP reported that food waste cost the UK around £3 billion per year, many restaurants in London pledged to help raise awareness of food waste in one of the city’s most thriving industries. To put things in perspective, every year the UK foodservice industry wastes enough food to fill the Shard nearly 11 times, according to the Crown Estate. The estate also stresses that one in six meals is wasted in kitchens – which costs the hospitality sector £2.5 billion annually. Food waste that ends up in landfills produces a large amount of methane and wastes the land and water that were used to grow the food initially. It being the time to change is an understatement.

Whether it’s a zero-waste menu or a compost scheme, many eateries are getting involved and, at the very least, raising awareness.

St. James’s Market

Both Regent Street and St. James’s restaurants are committing to reducing food waste by 25% by next year. They have the support of the Crown Estate, as well as the Sustainable Restaurant Assosication, who support all local restaurants who wish to implement food reduction initiatives. In addition to this pledge, free training workshops will be provided to aid those wishing to participate and all restaurants in St. James’s Market are eco-friendly in their hospitality duties, including the simple action of supplying guests with takeaway options. Too many restaurants I’ve been to recently ‘do not have boxes’ thus forcing guests who didn’t bring their own to leave food they’d have otherwise eaten.

With the likes of ‘O ver, Aquavit and Ikoyi in the vicinity, there are some great dining spots at St. James’s that are all actively pursuing the zero-waste initiative.

Nine Lives

8 Holyrood St, SE1 2EL

There’s a no-waste ethos at Bermondsey-based bar Nine Lives, with the cocktail recipes constantly being re-written to incorporate current ingredients in the bar and to reduce waste. Anything that can’t be used is repurposed into compost for the herbs grown in the garden. Whilst most bars use lemon oils and juices in the actual cocktail and its rind for garnishing, Nine Lives re-distill the pith (which is usually discarded) to produce essential oils for liqueurs and hand soaps. Even the staff uniforms are thrifted.


153 Hoxton St, N1 6PJ

Mr Lyan’s latest brainchild (remember Dandelyan in Sea Containers?) with multi-award-winning chef Douglas McMaster (of Brighton’s zero-waste restaurant Silo). With the aim to change how we view food consumption and to make that consumption more conscious, this restaurant in Hoxton champions waste reduction and the use of every part of a product to make up the ingredients and dishes on their set menu. Be prepared to eat baby goat (we use their milk but often their meat goes to waste) for which there is no reason why we don’t eat them and pullet eggs (if you’ve never had these, you are missing out, friends) which are eggs from underdeveloped hens so class as too small to sell in supermarkets. Bread and vegetables come from local farms and bakeries (the bread, specifically, from the E5 Bakehouse) and the miso in the banoffee pie is made from parsnips, birch sap and caramel.

Motley Bar

42 Adler St, E1 1EE

Proud to minimise food leftovers that head straight to the bin, Motley stands to love food but hate waste. With sustainability being at the core of this restaurant and bar’s values, their ‘Waste Not’ dishes use ingredients that otherwise would have – you guessed it – gone to waste and turn these scraps of leftover potato hash and vegetable peel into pro-veggie dishes such as broccoli stalk hummus, mushroom skin tagliatelle and rejected fruit crumble. Motley prides itself on being green and giving back to both the environment and the local community with low food miles, sourcing from local food suppliers and markets and even making breads and sauces on the premises; all to maintain a small carbon footprint.

Adam Handling’s restaurants and bars

Frog, 45-47 Hoxton Square, N1 6PD

Bean & Wheat, 321 Old St, EC1V 9LE

Frog by Adam Handling, 34-35 Southampton St, WC2E 7HG

Restaurant Adam Handling Chelsea, 75 Sloane St, SW1X 9SE

Adam Handling has incorporated zero-waste operations into both of his Frog restaurants, as well as his newly-opened coffee shop and deli. Bean & Wheat uses off-cuts and by-products from its family kitchens to keep the restauranteur’s food waste ethics intact. Any misshapen or bruised fruit and veg – which would otherwise be binned, as is the case with these products before they hit supermarket shelves – are sent to the coffee shop to make fresh cold-pressed juices. The carbon footprint is completely zero as Bean & Wheat has moved to the same location as Frog. Eve Bar, the basement cocktail space below Frog by Adam Handling and the newest addition to the empire, Adam Handling Chelsea, are completely zero-waste.



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