“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” by Roca Brothers
When we think of recycling in a restaurant, we often think of colored bins, sometimes a composter or activities leading to less-waste and zero-waste. However, our associations are primarily related to food waste. It is often forgotten that a restaurant generates waste not only from food but also from packaging. The product cycle is extremely important. Intrigued?
Celler De Can Roca – ROCA RECICLA
They say two heads are better than one. The Roca brothers prove that every three heads are better for creating amazing and creative ideas (and not just in gastronomy). Known for their unique cuisine, desserts, and wine, and for being at the top of the gastronomic world, they still strive for new ideas and inspirations.
Breathing new life into glass
According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), world wine consumption in 2020 was approximately 234 million hectoliters (1 hectoliter = 100 liters), equivalent to approximately 31 billion standard 750 ml bottles of wine. According to data from El Celler de Can Roca restaurant, more than 100,000 bottles are stored in its cellars. “Considering only the wine ones, 30,000 are opened every year at our place,” says Josep Pitu Roca. Theoretically, the bottles could be sorted and thrown away, but what is impressive is the reformulation and change of status from a by-product to a work of art.
The Roca Brothers’ team transforms empty glass bottles into creative tableware. The effects are amazing, and at the same time, it must be admitted that what is recycled does not necessarily mean something worse or ugly. On the contrary! The form and functionality of the tableware are impressive. What’s more, its shape somewhat resembles a bottle, so it leaves guests with upcycling and the environment in mind.
Design + gastronomy = waste – free restaurant
Cooperation with Spanish designer Andreu Carulla brought a slightly different solution. You will sit down. With delight. The designer has created a series of recycled polystyrene stools made from El Celler de Can Roca waste.
“This new project, codenamed RR201, is innovative in three ways: reusing non-recyclable material, inventing a completely new recycling process, and creating a useful and sustainable product as a result.”
The challenge in this project was primarily the process of recycling and reuse. Expanded polystyrene is extremely difficult to recycle. They created a very durable and lightweight stool (less than 2 kg) by cleaning the boxes, crushing them into raw material, densifying them with steam, and covering them with an environmentally friendly coating. Every day, the restaurant uses products from six styrofoam boxes. And that’s all it takes to make one stool, each of which has the date of delivery of the styrofoam box to the restaurant embossed on it.
Each model is different due to the arrangement of the material, which makes it unique. The courtyard of the Rossana Orlandi Gallery exhibited the stools during Milan Design Week 2018.
Restaurants commonly use the sous-vide method to slowly cook food and help marinate and preserve it, using vacuum bags.Their annual consumption is constantly increasing. In order not to discard used bags, the Roca brothers, in cooperation with Ecosol from Caritas, decided to give them a second life. The result is bags that are “fashionable in a sustainable way”. Recycling Roca continues to explore areas where it focuses on recycling other products. In this way, the restaurant reduced its vacuum bag waste by 80%.
Reach where no one has reached
This is not the end of the beautiful story about recycling, upcycling, and striving for zero waste. Under the slogan ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,’ the Roca team encourages waste reduction through creative reuse. They draw attention to important problems through their projects and demonstrate carefully executed solutions that engage the community and designers, creating new jobs. The team cultivates their heritage, elevates it to new heights, and cares for a better today and tomorrow.
Awareness of the numbers and the direction in which we are moving as a society should encourage change. We hope that we can all strive to be a bit like the Roca team and be the ones who make a difference. Their activities serve as a beautiful reminder that anything is possible if we choose to do it. By using our creativity, we can reach where no one has been before!