In February this year, Arbor Restaurant at The Green House, Bournemouth won the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s award for Environment (sponsored by BHA Business Partner SWR) and, as we are always on the lookout for innovation and best practice, we were keen to find out more about them and their waste management practices.
Here’s a copy of our interview with them…
SWR: Congratulations on winning the Sustainable Restaurant Association Award for Environment this year! We hear you are pretty hot on waste management and recycling and so are we. We were wondering if you would be able to share a few of your thoughts with us.
Top of our agenda currently is helping our customers prevent and manage food waste – what do you do to keep food waste to a minimum?
Arbor Restaurant: Very simply we are careful to monitor portion control. Our menus are also very detailed, so diners know exactly what to expect on their plates and Chef is always happy to prepare the dish differently to account for personal preferences. Our waiting team has a full briefing before every service so they know what extra side dishes are appropriate for each dish.
The kitchen are fabulous in making use of supplies and avoiding waste – Chef is extremely creative utilizing locally sourced, seasonal produce and minimises waste utilising his butchery skills. We have a small kitchen with limited storage so regular deliveries from local suppliers ensure waste is kept to an absolute minimum.
SWR: And with the little that you do produce, where does that go?
Arbor Restaurant: Our food waste is sorted by the kitchen and service team; this is collected once a week and taken to an In-Vessel composting facility. The compost is then sent to local farms, improving crop growth and reducing the use of manufactured fertilisers.
SWR: Zero Waste Scotland launched the ‘Good to Go’ scheme last year which encourages restaurants to offer posh looking ‘doggy bags’ to customers – is this something you do or would contemplate?
Arbor Restaurant: Of course! We will always encourage guests to take any leftovers for them to enjoy at home. However with all the measures we have in place and of course the exceptional food produced by Andy and his team, we usually only clear empty plates..!
SWR: Do you have any other innovative recycling projects/solutions that you could share with us?
Arbor Restaurant: We collect coffee granules which are then made into furniture – yes really. Waste cooking oil is collected to be converted into biofuel. We filter and bottle our own water, allowing us to sterilise and reuse the glass bottles and lids. Our conference chairs are made out of recycled Playstations, our pencils are made from recycled CD cases – the list goes on…
SWR: And finally, our recycling bugbear is that disposable coffee cups can only be recycled if they are collected as a separate waste stream in order for them to be recycled. Do you have any tricky waste streams or items that you find hard as part of a mixed recycling commonly misconceived to be recyclable? What’s yours and why?
Arbor Restaurant: One of our biggest bugbears was food being packaged in polystyrene; we couldn’t recycle this and it had to go into general waste but we have now talked to our suppliers and the use of polystyrene has been reduced considerably and any that does come into the hotel is returned to the supplier for reuse.