The Department of Environment and Energy has revealed that restaurants and industrial companies dispose of 2.2 million tonnes of food every year, with food waste costing $20 billion annually.
New Eveleigh bar Re is determined to fix this and seeks to completely reduce food waste.
Owner Matt Whiley says: “Taking it a step further and thinking about food waste and how we can utilise the vast amounts of food waste we generate all over the world. Thinking about how we can generate it in Sydney and the conversation about how we can make the change to reduce it.”
Just about everything in Re is sustainably made. “Pretty much everything you can touch, and feel is built from sustainable materials. That’s from tabletops, the bar top, all the balustrade, the bathroom wall, tiles, they’re all built from recycled milk bottles” says Matt.
The seat leather is also made from pineapple leaves, plywood from eco ply (the most sustainable wood in New Zealand and Australia). The bar also has light fittings made from mushrooms and plate ware from MUD’s recycled clay.
Re is also collaborating with Ketel One Vodka to create a new project, called Never Wasted. The program will bring together 10 Sydney bars to discuss food wastage and create a circular economy to reduce leftovers and surplus food.
Matt says: “What we’re doing is we’re asking everyone to come to a workshop with us at Re and to create a safe environment and speak candidly about their own challenges of food waste and what they might waste inside their venues…”
“And they will be able to pass it on to one of the other 10 bars and create a concentric circular economy, so everyone will get a waste item from another venue, and they’re going to utilise that waste item and put it on the menu.”
The program aims to reduce bar waste within the four weeks by 75%.
The program hopes to continually grow, involving more hospitality venues and creating a larger circular economy and delivering significantly less food waste for all.
For Matt, Re is the beginning of a more sustainable hospitality industry. “To show that to operate in this way you can actually make money and it actually makes you more money because you’re paying less for your produce.”
Re is the beginning of a larger conversation. The idea and initiatives behind the restaurant hope to curb food waste and spark discussion.
Matt says: “We want to actually tackle food waste and be able to give back to the industry in Sydney and create a blueprint of how we can take this to other cities around the world as well.”
Re is located at 2 Locomotive Street Shop 8, Eveleigh, 2015. You can book here.