The Handbook
The Handbook

Chucking food away, too many straws and endless coffee cups, we’re all guilty of not making the most of what we already have. Rather than bury our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away, it’s time for us to all come together to reduce the amount we waste if we want to help the state of our planet. Here are six ways that restaurants are working to save the planet, from loving ugly vegetables to giving you money off your morning flat white.


Cutting Down on Straws

According to Eco Cycle, the US gets through 500 million straws a day…not a week, not a month or year, just in one day. Which is mind blowing. Of course, we don’t use quite so many here, but getting rid of your straw is one way to save plastic and in turn the environment. As part of their rejuvenation of the Lobby Bar, The London EDITION has got rid of all straws, they’re effectively saving the planet one drink at a time. Likewise, at Super Lyan, you’ll be given a bamboo straw, it costs just 25p, is included in the price of the drink and you get to take it away.


Using Waste Product

Cub, the latest restaurant from Ryan Chetiyawardana makes the most of waste products, whether that is using every part of an ingredient so that nothing goes to waste, or using the likes of old yoghurt pots to create their table tops. Everything can be upcycled. At The Duke of Cambridge you’ll find that even the waste doesn’t go to waste. Instead, it is fed into an anaerobic digestor that generates energy. That’s on top of them already recycling everything they can and using repurposed, upcycled or second-hand furniture.


Growing Their Own Produce

As well as sourcing local meats and produce, restaurants are also growing their own vegetables, which will all help cut down air miles and reduce carbon footprints. Perilla Dining has started composting their food waste, which they will then use to grow their own veg. There might not seem space to grow anything on Commercial Street but that hasn’t stopped The Culpeper, they’ve just made the most of the space they have by growing everything from courgettes to chilies on their rooftop. Craft London, not only has its own kitchen garden, they have an orchard planted with rare and forgotten apple species and makes its own honey from its beehives.

Ditching the Paper Coffee Cups

Like straws, we get through a lot of coffee cups. Luckily though the coffee shops are waking up to this and many of the chains now offer a discount when you bring your own cup. You’ll get 25p off at Paul, Costa and Starbucks and 50p off at Pret. Which is not only good for the planet, but also for your bank balance. Costa is also aiming to recycle 30 million takeaway cups by providing places for you to recycle any paper coffee cup in over 2000 of their stores. Nice one.

Keeping the Left Overs

It is estimated that in the UK 10 million tonnes of food is wasted every year. Food that is perfectly good to eat. We know that Pret give their leftover sandwiches to homeless shelters, but now restaurants are coming on board through the Swedish app Karma which has just launched in London. They won’t be giving out food for free, but you will be able to pick-up food from the likes of Aquavit, Aubaine, Magpie and Detox Kitchen with a 50% discount. You’ll get cheaper food, restaurants will get more custom and food won’t go to waste. Good team work everyone.

Loving All Food

Food doesn’t have feelings (thankfully, otherwise vegans would be stuck) but no one likes to be left on the shelf just because they don’t fit the norm. We wouldn’t do it to ourselves so why do we do it to food. Did you know that over a third of produce grown in the UK isn’t used because it doesn’t meet the aesthetic standard? Two companies combatting this are ChicP and Rubies in the Rubble who create hummus and condiments respectively, all from left over fruits and vegetables. Whizzed up you won’t know whether the vegetable was a hottie or not… but also we need to not get precious about whether an apple is perfectly formed or not in the first place, it won’t taste any different especially once it’s all chewed up.