Silo–the UK’s zero waste restaurant
This Aussie started has run a zero waste restaurant for over a year in the UK.
There’s a restaurant called Silo in Brighton, a town just an hour away from London, one of the world’s biggest metropolitan hubs, that produces absolutely ZERO waste.
In one of the most wasteful industries in the world it’s incredible to see a restaurant reject wastefulness and find a way to create a wholly sustainable dining experience.
Silo’s creator, owner and head chef Douglas McMaster refers to the restaurant as “a pre-industrial food system that generates zero waste.” What’s interesting about this description, and as you can see in the video above, is that Silo isn’t using advanced technology from the fourth industrial revolution. This place is going back to some tried and true techniques much of the world forgets are sustainable and delicious.
So, how in the world does Silo manage to accomplish this? There’s a few things going on in the restaurant to cut down on waste.
First, there’s a flour mill in house so that McMaster doesn’t have to purchase flour and figure out how to reuse or recycle the bags flour comes in. This way all flour for baked goods, breads and more is not only ridiculously fresh but also sustainable. Plus, how good do these pastries look?
Then there’s Birtha—Silo’s aerobic digester. McMaster calls Birtha Silo’s “jewel of the crown.” And she deserves it--this contraption can condense 60 kilos of uneaten and unused food into compost in 24 hours. Birtha devours veggie peelings, eggshells, and even bones from sustainably sourced local meat.
Diners at Silo also tend to enjoy their food, and McMaster doesn’t waste much so he offers Birtha’s services to the local community to reduce their food waste as well.
At 3:40 in the video you can learn about the soap-free hand washing system in place so that all the water produced in the restaurant can be reused and repurposed with zero carbon footprint. A combination of alkaline and then acidic minerals in the water react together to clean your hands, and apparently there’s a tingly feeling when they dry.
The last mesmerizing no waste aspect to Silo is the plates. McMaster had an artist create plates out of trash bags. 60 trash bags condense into a beautiful formation which is used as a bread plate in the restaurant.
Silo also has a strict policy that ANYTHING delivered to them (which is mostly from local vendors) must come in a reusable container.
The Silo breakfast was the first dish we served over a year ago. Wholesome & hand-made. The 2 day Sourdough bread, toasted, buttered with our home make butter (or smoked rapeseed oil) topped with beans cooked with tomato sauce & slow cooked eggs.🙏🏻 #silobrighton #zerowaste #breakfast #homemade #sourdough #brighton
Silo manages to bring in zero waste coffee from a shop just down the street too. And their drinks are made from foraged and fermented plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
They even want your “food waste,” which is really extra food that can be saved from ending up in landfills.
The world can learn a lot from Silo’s motto “reuse, reduce, share, repeat” and you can help spread awareness that producing less waste matters and is possible by sharing this story.