Several of the most influential names in the Melbourne restaurant and hospitality industry were invited along to hear Rob Pascoe (Managing Director of Closed Loop) talk about the objectives and benefits of City Harvest; an Australian first recycling program which is projected to cut food waste to landfill by over 90%.
City Harvest will transform food waste from city restaurants into compost using Closed Loop organic composting machines, creating a valuable resource which will be collected and delivered to urban garden. The produce grown in the gardens will then be sold back to participating restaurants, thereby closing the loop on food waste normally sent to landfill.
City gardens will be established on rooftops and in public spaces within the Melbourne CBD, with The Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre at Albert Park committing space for four gardens already.
As part of the project, disadvantaged young people will be trained in commercial and horticultural skills to prepare and maintain the gardens. Les Twentyman’s 20th Man Fund has been involved in initial discussions.
Pascoe says, “The big issues today are feeding the world and what we do about food waste to land fill. City Harvest addresses both issues. At Closed Loop we believe that in the next 10 years, every commercial kitchen in Australia will have an organics composting machine and every home will also have the domestic version, much as they already have a dishwasher.”
Joost Bakker , well known environmental visionary, designer and restaurateur also spoke at the launch. Joost has installed two of the Closed Loop Organics Machines in his Silo café and Greenhouse restaurant, and commented that he had farmers fighting over the compost created by the machines adding another benefit that it “smells like Christmas pudding”.
Cecconi’s Cantina is already leading the way with the program with the installation of a Closed Loop Organics unit that has transformed waste management at the restaurant. With staff on board as strong advocated of the program, the installation has streamlined their food waste disposal and reduced weekly waste collections from 12 per week ( 3 years ago) to only 3 per week.
Cecconi’s compost is transported to Maria Bortolloto’s (owner) farm in Lorne every week, where it is used on her thriving vegetable gardens and the grown vegetables are later brought back to the restaurant for incorporation into the Cecconi’s season menu.
The Banksia Foundation is also proud to be a part of the City Harvest initiative, by bringing greater exposure to how vital organic recycling is to the future of food security in Australia. CEO of The Banksia Foundation, Mr Graz van Egmond said today: “Banksia's aim to acknowledge and inspire environmentally sustainable practices…I believe that Closed Loop is going beyond just introducing a new product; it is looking at the total solution.”
Following the launch in Melbourne, Closed Loop hopes to expand the program to Sydney and hopefully other cities around the globe.