With Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s War on Plastic on the BBC, the government’s new £4-million Food Waste Fund, exhibitions such as the V&A’s Bigger than the Plate, and entire cities and regions (Ljubljana, Flanders, Milan, Sardinia, the Croatian island of Zlarin) declaring themselves officially zero waste, it feels like everyone is talking about using up food scraps and plastic-free living.
But it can feel like an intractable problem when faced with tides of packaging each time we enter a supermarket. How can you tell if the chef who cooked your dinner gives a damn about how the ingredients were wrapped? One answer is shopping in dedicated zero-waste groceries, and another is to actively seek out sustainable restaurants and bars. Andrew Stephen, CEO of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which publishes countrywide ratings for all its members, says, ‘If the chef values food as much as you do, there should be obvious nods to nose-to-tail and root-to-fruit cooking on the menu as well as lashings of pickles and preserves – using up every part of the valuable produce. Tap water should be a given, but what about the leftovers on your plate – will the staff offer to wrap them for you at the end of the meal?’
Here are some of the best switched-on places in London and around the UK.
To find out more, see zerowastenear.me.