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A journey to a zero-waste restaurant by a restaurant that produces 180 kg of waste every day

Date : 2022/01/05Category : News

Pizza 4P’s is trying to carry out environmentally-conscious projects step by step in order to achieve the vision “Make the World Smile for Peace”. We started our original article series “Peace for Earth” focusing on such sustainable projects in our company.

The topic of this article will focus on zero waste. In July 2021, Pizza 4P’s opened its first overseas store in Cambodia, in the capital city of Phnom Penh. In opening the new store, Pizza 4P’s has decided to tackle the country’s serious waste problem head on and has adopted a “zero-waste” concept. In recent years, zero-waste restaurants such as Silo in London, Nolla in Helsinki, and Ijen in Bali have been gaining attention around the world, but there are still not many of them. Pizza 4P’s has been preparing for a year and a half to realize this concept. We will share a behind-the-scenes look at our efforts to create a zero-waste restaurant in Cambodia.

Our restaurant produces 180 kg of garbage a day

In order to come up with the idea of zero-waste in Cambodian restaurants, I first wanted to know how much waste was being generated by our restaurants. So, I decided to stick to one Pizza 4P’s restaurant for three days and measure all the waste produced by the restaurant. The chart below is a summary of the results.

As a result, we found out that this restaurant produces 80kg of garbage per day on weekdays and 180kg on weekends. I don’t know if this amount is more or less than other restaurants. Still, it was a shock to me to know that we were producing such a large amount of garbage every day.

All kinds of garbage are generated from restaurants, but the most common is food waste. This includes vegetable scraps, leftovers, coconut shells, seashells, pizza dough, and many other types of food waste. There is also a wide variety of other garbage such as plastic wrapping for food delivered from suppliers and central kitchens, paper napkins and wet wipes used by customers, glass bottles of wine and beer, and cans of olive oil and tomato sauce.

It is unsorted, dirty, smelly, and in large quantities. It was a disheartening experience to spend three days outdoors in the heat of Ho Chi Minh City observing the garbage. But more than that, it was very useful for us to know in detail what kind of garbage was produced from our restaurant, which will be very useful for us to think about zero-waste in Cambodia.

Create a “garbage list” for Pizza 4P’s

After that, the results of the three days of garbage analysis were compiled to create Pizza 4P’s “Garbage List”. Of course, we can’t say that this covers all the garbage, but we probably have a grasp of about 90% of it. It is enough as a first step to consider zero-waste.

Then, based on this list, we examined how we could reduce the amount of waste in each of our stores in Cambodia, or whether we could substitute something else, or if that didn’t work, whether it could be recycled. (Click here to view a copy of the list we made at the time)

Why zero-waste in Cambodia?

Cambodia has been facing a serious waste problem for some time now, with the capital Phnom Penh generating about 3,000 tons of waste every day. Due to the lack of incineration facilities and recycling infrastructure, the landfills near Phnom Penh are almost full. In such a country like Cambodia, wouldn’t it be meaningful to pursue “zero-waste” as a restaurant and communicate it? This project was started with this in mind.

On the other hand, Pizza 4P’s was founded in Vietnam and has already opened more than 20 restaurants in the country, so why did we decide to take on the challenge of zero-waste in Cambodia instead of Vietnam, where they already have a solid foundation? One reason is that as the company has expanded in scale, the decision-making process has become more complex.

Take wet wipes, for example.: “If we eliminate wet wipes, customers will be less satisfied because they can’t easily wipe their hands.”; “There is no space for hand towels,”; or “There is no way we can do this during busy times.”. It is not an easy task to dispel all these concerns. It takes a lot of energy to break away from the way things have been done in the past.

Cambodia, on the other hand, is starting from scratch. It is still the first store and Pizza 4P’s is not well known. Local employees will also be hired from now on. Of course, there will be no “conventional operations”. Everything will be new to us, and we will have to draw a picture on a blank sheet of paper. That’s why we decided to start “Zero Waste” in Cambodia. In other words, from the perspective of the company as a whole, the Cambodian store is an experimental store, and the methods that were confirmed to work there are results of our lessons from operating all Pizza 4P’s stores in Vietnam.

How do we achieve zero-waste?

The concept of the Cambodian store was zero-waste, but to be more precise, it is “Zero waste to landfill”. Following the hierarchy of the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle), we will reduce waste as much as possible, switch to reusable items, and recycle the waste that is still generated in collaboration with local partner companies.

Black soldier fly eating food waste

Based on the aforementioned “garbage list,” we have come up with solutions for each type of garbage. Some examples are given below.

Reduce

– Eliminate fried food recipes. This will eliminate the waste of kitchen oil

– Eliminated paper napkins, deciding that cloth table napkins were not a problem. This will reduce the large amount of paper napkin waste.

– By making the restaurant non-smoking, it is possible to eliminate cigarette waste.

– Switched the whiteboard for writing pizza orders to an electronic whiteboard. Eliminated the waste of oil-based pens

Reuse

– Refill water at the store and provide our own bottled water

– No disposable wet wipes, use hand towels that can be washed and used over and over again

– Use of Tupperware for food storage to minimize the use of plastic wrap

– Dry citrus peels for herbal tea (partner: Demeter)

– Excess food is used for employees’ meals whenever possible.

Recycle

– Food scraps that must be disposed of are used to feed black soldier flies (partner: Ruy Reach).

– Glass bottles are sent to a recycling plant in Siem Reap (partner: GAEA).

– Plastic waste is recycled as building material (partner: Gomi Recycle)

– Paper waste is disposed of with an electric composter

The above are just a few examples, some of which we are currently preparing, while others will probably be garbage that we will consider how to deal with after the store opens. We would like to aim for zero-waste by being flexible and making the best choice from time to time, without being bound to any one idea.

In the next article on the zero-waste topic, I will write about how 4P’s Cambodia is actually implementing (or not implementing) zero-waste after the opening. Also, I would like to introduce how we expressed zero-waste in the store design, and the zero-waste approach to various items used in the store.

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