Earth Day: 6 zero-waste restaurants in the UK that are changing the game

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Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.

It’s Earth Day, so what better time to shout about some of the restaurants putting sustainability at the top of their agendas, and changing the food game for the better?

It remains the case that UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste every year, which is why it’s incredible that several restaurants are pledging to lead the charge and vowing not to throw anything food away at all. 

There’s no questioning that we could all do with cutting down on the food we’re wasting – both in our own kitchens and when we go out to eat.

So, without further ado, Twisted has compiled a list of the best zero waste restaurants in the UK.

Silo (London)

silo london zero waste

Silo was born after founder Doug imagined a restaurant with no bin (Credit: Instagram/ Silo London)

Silo begun because of a simple idea. Imagine a restaurant which simply doesn’t have a bin. The idea is this: the restaurant trades directly with farmers, and opts for local ingredients in re-usable packaging so that no waste is created.

Served on plates made out of recycled plastic bags, the restaurant’s six-course tasting menu changes daily to reflect the products the restaurant has in, and every part of each ingredient is used – wonky veg, offal and all.

Founded by restaurateur Doug McMaster, Silo begun in Brighton before moving to East London’s trendy Hackney Wick.

The space is spacious, stylish and minimalist. It’s proof that sustainable can very much be cool.

Oh, and the food is banging, too.

Paco (Bristol)

paco bristol zero waste

Bristol’s Paco serves waste-free tapas (Credit: Instagram/ Paco Tapas)

Waste-free tapas, anyone? This Bristol Spanish restaurant – which was crowned the UK’s sustainable restaurant of the year in 2016 and 2018 – also focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, and prides itself on composting and recycling almost all of its waste.

It has a monthly changing menu dreamt up by Michelin starred Chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, which is comprised of tantalising small-plates based around the ingredients available, and the flavours of his Spanish roots.

Think jamón, wood fired padrón peppers and an extensive list of sherry, served in a dark, sexy and buzzy environment.

Nine Lives (London)

nine lives zero waste london

Nine Lives is a London bar which also avoids any waste (Credit: Instagram/ Nine Lives)

Nine Lives is a zero-waste bar near London Bridge, with a menu that focuses on giving ingredients that might otherwise be thrown away a chance to shine.

They use every ingredient they buy to the fullest – and we mean the fullest. For instance, not only do they use lemon juice, but also the rind and oils in their cocktails. Then, they use its essential oils to make hand soap too.

The bar also serves tacos which are made using the same anti-waste ethos, and we need to talk about the decor, which is trendy with a capital T.

Any leftover ingredients are composted rather than binned, and used to grow herbs which are then added back into their produce. It’s a big ‘ol circle of tastiness.

Coombeshead Farm (Cornwall)

coombshead farm zero waste

Coombeshead Farm is all about self-sufficiency (Credit: Instagram/ Coombeshead Farm)

Tom Adams and April Bloomfield of Cornwall’s Coombeshead Farm are all about cooking without waste. In fact, they even rear their own Mangalitsa pigs, Aylesbury ducks and Le Flèche chickens on its 66-acre site. The restaurant is based within a guest-house, and is as self-sufficient as they come.

The team is all about using its own produce rather than buying in, and they have their own sourdough bakery, too, as well as beehives to harvest honey.

Plus, they compost any food waste they have straight back into their gardens, and keep their menus super seasonal to ensure that everything is as sustainable as you can get.

This restaurant is deep in the countryside on the Devon/ Cornwall border, and it’s a bit special, really. Expect a peaceful environment and delicious food (which just happens to be good for the planet… win, win!).

Hypha (Chester)

hypha chester zero waste

Hypha in Chester has a zero-waste ethos (Credit: Instagram/ Hypha)

Hypha, in Chester, is a zero-waste restaurant offering a plant-based menu you’re going to want to check out. Within the historic city, the restaurant is injecting a hefty dose of modernity with its approach to cooking.

It uses local ingredients like wild garlic and rapeseed oil, many of which are grown within a stones throw of the premises. Plus, the staff even forage native produce from the banks of the River Dee.

The restaurant also grows a huge amount of its own produce in the UK’s oldest organic grow fields nearby, meaning that their set menus are always focused on what’s in season and what’s at their disposal, with no need for mileage or any big food shipments, and plenty of capacity for composting.

Nicholas Friar, the owner, is adamant that the restaurant should remain zero-waste without being “preachy” – and that’s very much what they’ve done.

Expect a cosy wood-adorned space with modern finishes, and impressive and innovative food. A true zero-waste gem.

Inver (Argyll & Bute)

inver resstaurant scotland zero waste

Inver restaurant is all about zero-waste (Credit: Instagram/ Inver)

Inver is found by Scotland’s Loch Fyne shores, and has a menu featuring seafood from the loch, meat and dairy sourced from local high-welfare, low-impact farms, foraged herbs and even water from the nearby hills. 

When meat is used, every single part is used, to ensure there is no waste, and also to maximise creativity, and food waste is composted. Shells from seafood also doesn’t go to waste, and is returned to the loch they were sourced from.

Fruit and veg also come in from gardeners in the remote (and pretty stunning) area, and if you still needed more proof of the restaurant’s eco cred, its owner, Pamela Brunton, has an MSC in food policy for food charities.

The restaurant itself is upmarket but minimalist, letting the food do the talking – and trust us, it has a lot to say.

zero waste restaurants

Restaurants are saying no to food waste (Credit: Alamy)

As a society, one of the most important things we can do for the planet is cut down on the amount of food we throw away. After all, a third of all food is wasted globally, and that’s a pretty shocking statistic.

Doing this whilst cooking at home is a start (whether that’s simply using up what we have in the fridge or getting creative with ingredients before they go off) but it really is an added bonus that we can now support zero waste restaurants throughout London, Bristol, Chester and a plethora of other locations across the UK.

They’re presenting an alternative way to serve banging food with the planet in mind, and we should all be sitting up and taking notice.

So, if you do one thing this Earth Day, we suggest booking yourself a table at whichever one of these restaurants is near to you – they really are the best in the ‘biz.