This Restaurant Hasn’t Produced Trash In Over 2 Years

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First a statistic, the average restaurant produces about 100,000 lbs of garbage per year. That is 273 lbs a day on average! This garbage can range from paper, plastics, metals, packaging and so on. Most restaurants are using ridiculous amounts of products and or packaging that could easily be cut down with a little bit of thought and effort. One of our main issues is that we don’t think of these things because we usually are just repeating someone else’s model, hence why we are about to destroy our entire world. It seems all we care about is success and money. So much so that we’d rather have money than a planet, yet without the planet we can’t have money… go figure.

The good news is, people are changing and the consciousness on this planet is shifting! More and more people are starting to look at things in a new light and are dropping the old destructive habits. Of course big businesses do get in on it from time to time as they attempt to market all their “green” strategies and products, but most of this is just so they can sell more of whatever they produce. The real passion lies in people like Justin Vrany who runs a restaurant called Sandwich Me In which to date has produced ZERO waste.

That’s right, his Chicago restaurant is profitable all while producing no waste and having a blast while doing it. As he explains in the video below,  most restaurants are producing about 8 gallons of garbage an hour, where as it took his restaurant 2 year to produce the same amount. Then he had an artist come pick it up to make a sculpture bringing his waste back down to zero.

How expensive is the food to be able to do this? All of his sandwiches are under $10 and they come with a side dish. On top of that, the meat and produce is all raised and grown locally. So while slightly more than what you’d pay at McDonald’s for their toxic and environment destroying food, you can go to Sandwich Me In and get something that’s both healthy and eco-friendly! Check out his story below.

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CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Ken Thompson

    Why is it that when someone does something different and it is good all round there are so many naysayers? Why is it that there are so many humans who want everyone to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result? Einstein said that it’s the height stupidity. The time for us humans to stop being stupid is long overdue. Kudos to the restaurant and its owner[s].

    • And kudos to you too Ken for your reply! I feel the same way. I hate all of the negativity when someone is trying to do something positive.

  2. servanti

    This is really great and I admire what he is doing and hope that more follow his lead, except one thing, he, like many, has fallen for this “locally sourced animal products is sustainable” myth. There is no such thing as sustainable animal product.

  3. Rick Aman

    Great ethics! Wish more would follow suit!

    • Cheryl

      So do I Rick. If households should reduce their waste then so should businesses. They usually say they don’t have time or it costs too much.

  4. Great article! Thanks Joe


    His sandwiches COST more than everyone else’s and he admits it!

    It’s all about…MONEY!

    • Cheryl

      I don’t care if the sandwiches do cost more if the extra cost is going to be used in an ethical way, and this obviously is!

      • Must be nice to be “rich!”

        • Cheryl

          Bobby90247 I am definitely not rich. I am getting quite broke actually as I am long term unemployed. Do you say that to the smokers who seem to have plenty of money to spend on an unethical product?

          • Pardon my ‘ignorance’, Bobby. Please sell your cleverness and start buying bewilderment for Sandwich Me In. Isn’t this entrepreneur being a man by promoting self-sustainability in his business practice? The most manly american president FDR has a great quote on self sustainability. This entrepreneur had the strength to keep down the fort for six months. A restauranteur who works the battle field in customer service deserves a medal of honour for his valour. I have a friend who is a chemical engineer, works in the oil industry, believe it or not its a hazardous job. This little birdy friend of mine truly believes her customer service job three years ago was more dangerous than her current position. People who work the front lines work their ass off might suffer from severe depression. Believe me, I know. This man is entitled to the money he makes, after all he’s putting it toward a goal bigger than himself and educating people on renewability. If i were you, show some gratitude for middle class citizen labor, and support his business. As for a lesson in overall manliness, if you acknowledge or recognize a problem, start by researching the solution immediately. You will have the critics to deal with when you begin to imagine a solution. Where will be the encouragers? Space travel is very expensive right now. Yes, its real. Like new technology is expensive, what comes up in price, also must go down. Thank you and have a great day!

          • WOW! Nothing wrong with the guy making money. “WE” ALL need to make money in this World…right!

            All I’ve pointed out is what it truly is…a marketing “gimmick!”

            Nothing more, nothing less…PERIOD!

            GREAT for him!

        • Cheryl

          You are probably one of those people who wouldn’t pay extra for free range eggs or meat so the animals didn’t suffer as much as the cheaper products.

          • Do you really have any idea about “What” you are talking about?

            It’s a “bogus” article! A guy is NOT producing trash so he doesn’t have to “PAY” for trash pick-up! Nothing more, nothing less!

            SO, he is saving THAT expense…right!

            Then, he takes he charges MORE to dispose it HIS WAY and uses it as a “gimmick” to ENTICE people to come and eat at his place!

            SO, he doesn’ pay for trash pick-up…”Ka-ching!”
            Charges MORE for the “gimmick!”…”Cha-ching!!!”

            I ain’t mad at him! He’s making money on everyone else’s misplaced, misdirected, sympathetic…consciousness?


    • Cheryl

      Bobby90247 would you rather pay for cheap junk food that produces high waste and increases peoples chances of obesity and diabetes?

      • I don’t eat “junk food” and don’t pay $10 for a sandwich (as noted in the article)!!!

    • you have to pay more for better quality. Yeah, fast food is cheaper, but it slowly kills people and makes them fat. I’d rather pay more and get something healthier and help the environment at the same time.

      • Cheryl

        Yes Catherine. So would I but I am definitely not rich. Some people I know spend lots of money on cigarettes and alcohol but will not pay more than McDonald’s prices for a good meal that is environmentally responsible. No wonder we have so much trouble in this world with the priorities people have.

    • jeremy

      There are places that a sandwich with a side dish cost more than $9.99 and no he admitted his sandwiches and side dish cost more than McDonald’s.
      It’s not all about…MONEY!
      it’s about REDUCING WASTE!

      • Cheryl

        You got that right Jeremy! I hate places like McDonald’s. They don’t care less about waste. When I had a bottomless cup of coffee I returned my cup for reuse and it was promptly thrown in the bin! Apparently it is their policy for hygiene reasons. What a load of shit!

    • It COSTS more to run this business.

    • It COSTS more to buy local and organic. It COSTS more to spend the labor to wash and reuse items rather than throw them away. BOTTOM – LINE? It COSTS more to run this business.

    • Paul S. Lam (Montreal)

      I would gladly pay more for that kind of food any time!….and of course this world is all about money, money makes the world go round but Justin is doing things that others will not do or not doing and what he charges is not out of line at all. I wish more restaurants would copy what Justin is doing. Asking too much? Perhaps but still doable. We should praise people who make a difference instead of trying to find fault, if fault there is. Just remember: no one wants to throw the first stone!!!….for obvious reasons!

  6. Sammie

    I personally like to eat food from a glass plate, using a real stainless steel fork and drinking from a nice glass glass! does not matter the food I simply question how much of the flavor is from the food and how much is from the plastic and paper wrapper that it comes in! take a good whiff of your next fast food wrapper! bottled water is the same… it tastes like drinking water out of an old garden hose! why??? why assault your taste buds with this toxic trash… This is the delineation between “fast food” and any “real restaurants”…. most real restaurants actually produce very little trash trash… sure they have some waste but if the owner is wise and raises chickens or pigs at home, all of that food waste can go into savings for his animal feed! This is really nothing new… just a shift back away from “fast food” :)

  7. Liz Baron

    Looks great if he can really do it. But was that a styrofoam to go box I saw him packing food in? I hope not. It doesn’t seem like that fits his philosophy if that’s walking out the door.

    • I thought the same! I was hoping it was a bio-degradable one (like those cornstarch packing peanuts!)

      • Jay

        those arent styrofoam – at first companies replaced takeout containers with paper based products which are biodegradable but when ending up in a landfill it does still prolduce methane gas – hence newer products are actually compostable therefore negating the whole trash bin/landfill thing and further decreasing the footprint as well as sustainability these products are often made of plant based materials such as sugar cane fiber. hope that helps :)

  8. John

    That’s great news! So good to hear that kind of waste reduction is possible. Our house generates about a bag of trash a week but we’re so looking forward to composting (and gardening) soon. Responsible living doesn’t mean “out of sight, out of mind.” Know your footprint!

    • Cheryl

      Of course John. I hate it that people don’t care that they are adding to landfill unnecessarily. Too many people just leave their unwanted stuff on the verge for the council truck to pick up, or even dump it behind bushes. This is because they are too lazy to take their unwanted stuff to an op shop where somebody else could use it. To make it worse many of these people are not rate payers and are on welfare! Too many people also don’t use the recycle bins properly.
      I live by myself most of the time and usually only put out one small bag of rubbish to landfill fortnightly. Most of that is plastic packaging. There is no food waste in there as I compost all of my scraps. Our council gave us a small basket to put in food scraps and used tissues. It then goes into the garden waste bin. So there is NO excuse for food to go to landfill, but it still does.
      EVERYONE needs to be responsible for their rubbish!

  9. Cheryl

    This is great. The huge amount of waste produced from the hospitality industry is a main reason I wouldn’t be able to work in that industry. I hope this catches on. :)

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