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'The Sustainability Push'

A growing number of chefs and restaurateurs are investing in premium technologies and processes that don’t just reduce wastage, but try to eliminate it altogether.

The Greenhouse is clad in materials such as plywood and recycled plastic. Straw-bales in the walls and ceilings supply the building’s insulation. Vertical gardens spill from the walls, and a rooftop garden produces ingredients for the kitchen and bar.

The Perth restaurant represents a new breed of hospitality operator, for which sustainability is not just a side concern—it’s the concern.

The Raw Kitchen in Fremantle has a similar philosophy, with every aspect of the business, from design to fit-out to menu, “evaluated for its greater ecological impact.”

In its restaurant, drinks are served with reusable stainless steel straws, take-away food comes in biodegradable packaging and the menu is designed to reduce food miles. It offers plant-based cuisine because it, “Produces the greatest and most immediate impact on carbon emissions, rates of global water consumption and pollution, land degradation and more,” the venue says.

The Raw Kitchen’s end goal is to run the space on solar and renewable energy, and supply itself with produce from its own farming operation.

This zealous commitment to sustainability and zero-waste has become a priority for some of the world’s most famous restaurateurs, many of whom use a system created in Australia to achieve it. NOMA, René Redzepi's Copenhagen institution, and D.O.M in Brazil, both considered among the world’s best restaurants, use the Australian-designed Closed Loop machine. The system converts food waste – from preparation scraps to plate scrapings – into concentrated compost. Casual eateries are also upping their sustainability investment. Chicago’s Sandwich Me In runs on sustainable energy and its food scraps and spent frying oil are repurposed.

In Australia, we have our own sustainability leaders, including Melbourne Italian institution Cecconis, who have invested in a Closed Loop system. “Since 2010, my partner and I have collected all the green organic waste and composted this at our family farm on the Victorian Surf Coast near Lorne,” says Maria Bortolotto, owner of. “To introduce the Closed Loop was the next progression.”

Bortolotto adds that all the lights at her Flinders Lane restaurant were converted to more environmentally-friendly LEDs, and in addition to minimising and recycling packaging, the restaurant has partnered with soil scientists at the University of Melbourne to ensure it optimises its use of the compost produced by the Closed Loop machine.