First came a plastic-free supermarket in Amsterdam, now it’s the eco-sustainable restaurant in Biddinghuizen, where one of Europe’s most famous music festivals is held, the Lowlands Festival. It was precisely during this festive occasion that the first zero-waste restaurant in the Netherlands was presented: Brasserie 2050, an innovative project that could mark a significant turning point in dining entrepreneurship.
Zero waste restaurant: why 2050?
2050 is the year in which the Earth is expected to reach a world population of 10 billion (currently, we are just under 8). Ten billion human beings to feed, through increasingly impoverished soil due to climate change, over-exploitation of water and agricultural resources due to intensive farming, and now sadly world-known global warming.
2050: turning point for the environment
2050 is furthermore the year in which, according to various studies, climate change will bring the planet to a point of no return, and also that in which the amount of micro-plastics in oceans will exceed that of the fish present. In short, a date heavy with significance in the environmental world, not by chance chosen for the name of the restaurant.
Zero waste restaurant: beyond plastic free
In fact, Brasserie 2050 is not a simple eco-friendly restaurant, with wood finishings and compostable cutlery, nor a place that simply follows the “plastic free” trend. Of course, there are recycled, recovered, and even removable materials, so that they can be reused over and over again, and arranged differently each time. But this is just one of the many details that makes the project unique (although we would like to specify that in Italy a beautiful and worthy place is Locanda Leggera in Turin, conceived by the research organization Ecologos and created thanks to the successful experiment of Negozio Leggero, a chain of plastic- and packaging-free stores with different points in Italy and also in France).
What is zero waste
The philosophy behind the initiative, in fact, is much broader and deeper than the “plastic free” trend which is becoming increasingly popular among businesses and consumers. The zero waste lifestyle, a movement born in America and spread over time to the rest of the world (in Italy, the reference group is Rete Zero Waste), which provides a waste reduction strategy––not just in regards to plastic––and more generally brings attention and greater awareness during purchases, emphasizing the importance of our role as consumers.
The “5R” of the zero waste movement
A movement that rejects the concept of single-use, disposable (compostable or not, it does not matter: quantity and quality of waste is what counts) and promotes a sustainable lifestyle through small daily choices, from purchases to self-production in cooking, from shopping to the recovery of objects and materials. And that is based on five fundamental rules, the famous 5R: Refuse (superfluous objects that in the future will turn into waste), Reduce (the load of waste, buying less and better), Reuse (good quality objects that do not perish over time but are instead durable), Recycle (give new life to objects of various kinds, from old clothes to food scraps), Reduce to compost (fruit and vegetable peels, which will create a natural and effective plant fertiliser).
And it is precisely on these principles that Brasserie 2050, bases its roots, while temporarily set up by the Overtreders W. studio at the Lowlands Festival. A building designed to be modified and exploited differently from year to year, and which functions as a sort of greenhouse, where plants grow and are then dried.
Shortest supply chain
The concept of zero kilometre is outdated: we should rather consider this zero centimetre, because every ingredient comes from the actual restaurant. The menu was designed by The Food Line Up, which had created entirely zero-waste dishes, using scraps, skins and leftovers of local products.
The structure––with a shape reminiscent of a barn––is mainly made of pallets, with a corrugated (recycled) plastic roof that completes the general appearance together with two wooden sloping rooflines. Inside, plastic tables (again, recovered) and lots of aromatic herbs, wild plants and vegetables.
A model that we hope can be an example for other countries, and that has been reported by Business Insider as one of the most futuristic projects among the 267 finalists of the Dezeen Awards 2019, a competition dedicated to architecture and design.
by Michela Becchi