Silo is the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant (bakery and coffee house too) – located in Brighton. They produce everything on site from it’s wholest from, including a full bar produced by Old Tree micro-brewery in the kitchen.
The restaurant takes really amazing measures to achieve zero waste. One of these is filtering water through reverse osmosis. Now, from what I understood (without googling it now!) I think this is where water is separated into a more acidic solution and a more alkaline one. When these are used one after the other, no soap products are needed. It both sanitizes and kills bacteria, and feels really interesting when used. It’s used in all areas of the building – from kitchen to bathrooms… preventing buying in packaged products. As for the dishes, emphasis is on the most sustainable processes. They buy unpackaged, support local, forage for wild foods, mill flour on site, create chocolate from bean to bar, and so much more. As much as possible is reused. Everything else is recycled in some way, including an extensive composting system. Other people and organizations can take their food scraps to SILO too.
Not only is the concentration on eliminating wasteful output, SILO also runs on many upcycled materials. I received my bowl of Beetroot Soup (blended with Apple Juice and topped with Fresh Horseradish), on a plate made from 60 compressed plastic bags. The table top it sat upon was a 6th-hand warehouse floor tile. The table’s legs were from discarded primary school furniture. The coffee bar made from the insides of unused filing cabinets. The list goes on…
As well as the soup, I thoroughly enjoyed a Potato Steak with Elephant Garlic Sauce, Dried Celeriac, Roasted Shallots and Spring onions. Dishes and ingredients are explained in beautiful detail when it’s served to you. I personally very much enjoyed that, and listening to other meals described to other guests! The menu was simple in size, with one dish under each heading; Plant, Dairy, Fish, Meat, Wild – plus a couple starters, deserts and a SILO salad. The idea for keeping it limited is to reject the consumerist and destructive ideas of excessive choice and convenience. These are wasteful principles of our food system and are both positively and deliciously challenged at SILO.
They are soon to write up a design manifesto, so you can learn much of the other inventive ways they create zero waste. The politics of SILO aren’t pushed in your view. I felt invited enough to ask, but equally, I imagine a less enthusiastic guest could feel comfortable to enter the space, enjoy a meal and not think about all the waste stuff!
SILO also lets The Real Junk Food Project Brighton use the kitchen when they need one.