‘Re’ Is Set To Become Australia’s First Zero-Waste Bar

Jul 31, 2021by Olivia - F&F

With salvaged food on the menu, recycled tables and chairs, and top-notch recycling practices — Sydney’s ‘Re’ bar is set to become Australia’s first zero-waste drinking experience.

Regenerative Drinking ExperienceRegenerative Drinking Experience

Re Offers A “Regenerative Drinking Experience”

Re, located in Everleigh, is paving the way towards a zero-waste future in the hospitality industry. To the naked eye, Re is your typical cocktail bar. Its interior is beautiful and minimalistic, and the menu is full of classic and creative cocktails. 

If you look a bit closer, you’ll find that Re is anything but ordinary! Its creators — Matt Whiley and Maurice Terzini — describe Re as a “regenerative drinking experience”. That’s because almost every aspect of the bar is zero-waste, from the materials used in the interior and the ingredients on the menu, to the concept of the bar itself. 

“We want to change people’s expectations of what low-waste means, and encourage others to build and operate this way,” says Whiley.

Bar Built On WasteBar Built On Waste

Re Is Built On Waste — Literally!

The team at Re have really gone the extra mile to create a truly sustainable space. The eye-catching staircase and countertops are made from crushed up plastic bottles; the booths are made from faux leather derived from pineapple leaves; even the light fittings are made from mushroom mycelium.

“Everything you touch as a guest is pretty much from a recycled material — your seat, the tabletop, your glass, your plate,” says Matt Whiley to Planet Ark.

The menu at Re is clever and sustainable. The ingredients for the cocktails are locally sourced and used creatively to reduce waste. Some use fruits destined for landfill, and others use a simple syrup base made with banana skins. All are served in beautiful, reclaimed Maison Balzac glasses!

Sustainable Cocktail BarSustainable Cocktail Bar

Setting A New, Sustainable Standard For Cocktail Bars

In a typical pub or bar, food waste accounts for a whopping 27 per cent of all waste!

That’s why the team at Re are working hard to minimise food waste with their five bin system. They have a bin for towels and napkins (which are laundered on-site), bins for recyclable glass and paper, a bin for food scraps to be composted, and a general waste bin — which is barely ever used.

“Never has this subject been more important. Food waste costs our economy $20 billion a year – more than five-million tonnes of food ends up in landfill; one in five bags of groceries winds up in the bin,” says Whiley.


The ‘Never Wasted’ Initiative

Re is also helping other bars to become more sustainable. The Never Wasted Initiative — a collaboration with Ketel One Vodka — brings together ten Sydney bars for a program to reuse discarded and excess food. Each bar that receives a surplus of food from another bar — say, orange peels — must create a new drink on their menu that features the item!

“All we’re asking those bars to do is pass that produce on to one of the other bars and create a circular economy for waste items from each bar,” says Whiley.

Re and Ketel One Vodka want the initiative to spread to other bars, and eventually, restaurants. The end goal is to reduce the overall food waste in each venue by 75 per cent.

Re Zero Waste Bar In SydneyRe Zero Waste Bar In Sydney

Re’s Zero-Waste Vision

Although Re isn’t 100 per cent zero-waste, the team have a long-term vision to eliminate waste from the bar entirely. But for now, Whiley says that excess packaging is the main source of the bar’s waste. Beer is typically packaged in large kegs, but spirits still come to the bar individually bottled. 

That’s why Matt is so passionate about rethinking liquor packaging and distribution to become reusable. Very few companies, like ecoSPIRITS, are currently selling liquor in 5L and 25L refillable ‘totes’. Ultimately, back in the bar, the team at Re want to normalise waste minimisation and sustainable practices. 

“At the moment everyone just does what they do the same way they’ve always done it”, says Whiley. “Until someone tells them there’s a new way.”

We don’t often associate the term ‘zero-waste’ with ‘cocktail bars’. But Matt Whiley and Maurice Terzini are demonstrating that it can be achieved with care, consideration, and a clear vision for the future. 

We’re particularly excited about the Never Wasted Initiative — we can’t wait to see how the sustainable food waste program unfolds, and we’d love to see its impact grow across Sydney’s cocktail bars, pubs and restaurants!

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