Lonely Planet Writer

Inside Indonesia’s first ever zero-waste restaurant

Indonesia’s first zero-waste restaurant has opened in Potato Head Beach Club in Bali. Located near Seminyak, Ijen serves a menu made from locally-sourced produce that is sustainable, with guests having the chance to sample dishes such as line-caught fish fresh from the water cooked simply over a wood-fire.

From the floors to the menus, the restaurant uses recycled and reusable materials. Image by Potato Head

“We wanted to prove that a zero-waste aesthetic can be modern, so guests can expect to feel like they’re at a design-led restaurant that has placed a strong focus on interiors, but it’s just that all of our furniture and amenities are derived from alternative resources,” Karen Day, director of communications for Potato Head Beach Club told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Furniture is made from materials such as motorcycle foam off-cuts and ethically-sourced Mersawa wood, while the dining room floor was created from a mix of cement, broken plates and chipped drinking glasses. Even the menus are printed on sustainably-harvested paper bound to boards made from recycled truck tyres provided by local flip-flop brand Indosole, while glass candles are made from wine bottles that burn wax created from Potato Head’s own used cooking oil.

The menu showcases sustainable, locally-sourced products. Image by Potato Head

The same philosophy applies to the food, with executive chef Wayan Kresna Yasa spending a significant amount of time choosing suppliers that are organic and local, and share the same principles about reducing waste. The restaurant works with Bali Sustainable Seafood, whose fisherman use a hand-reeling process to ensure they’re only catching what’s needed.

Tables are topped with candles made from wine bottles that burn used oil from the kitchen. Image by Potato Head

While seafood is the star of the show, the restaurant includes creative plant-based dishes, such as roasted cauliflower with keluwek tahini, pickled tropical fruits and grilled bean salad with rice from the Unesco-protected Jatiluwih terraces.

The interior of Ijen. Image by Potato Head

In addition to materials and cooking techniques that reduce the environmental footprint, Ijen separates organic and inorganic waste into five different bins; food remnants are fed to pigs at local farms or composted at their own site, shellfish shucks are powdered and used in animal feed or fertilizer, and all dry goods are entirely recycled by the island’s responsible waste management service, ecoBali.

“We wanted to prove that it’s possible, and hopefully inspire others in our industry to follow suit. While the issue of food waste and plastic pollution is a global problem clogging up landfills and our oceans, we see it first-hand by being nestled along the beach in Bali. We’re really pleased that so many of our industry peers have approached us to ask how they do this at their establishments. Many visitors that have joined us simply because they were already at the Beach Club have been surprised to learn that it’s a zero-waste initiative,” Karen said.

The menu includes interesting plant-based dishes. Image by Potato Head

More information on visiting Ijen is available at the official website.