In 2016, we went carbon neutral! We’ve always aimed to be as sustainable as possible, and lots of steps have helped us get here. To be completely carbon neutral we had to take things one step further than any other restaurant group.
We offset our unavoidable energy usage by purchasing renewable electricity to give us a net zero carbon footprint. This means that we are now certified carbon neutral in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.
We monitor our energy and use state of the art equipment to minimise our environmental impact.
We use the heat energy created by fridges and freezers to heat the restaurants’ hot water. Our ventilation systems are demand driven. We have motion sensor lighting. Flow controllers in all of our plumbing. We’re not stopping here, we’re always looking for new ways to do more.
ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL
Across all of our restaurants, all of our waste, including food waste, is diverted from landfill.
Where we have control of the waste collection contract, we go the extra mile to appoint the most sustainable waste collector available.
Food waste is converted into biogas and liquid fertiliser. The biogas is used to produce clean renewable electricity and the fertiliser is spread onto farmland.
USE & REUSE
We have chosen a London based company to provide us with cooking oil. Not only does this reduce our carbon footprint, but the used oil is then taken away and processed into biofuel to power cars and taxis in South London.
We pride ourselves on having excellent recycling rates; we work with the Government’s Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) to constantly improve the amount we recycle.
Wahaca was the first own branded restaurant group to sign up to WRAP’s Hospitality and Food Service Agreement (HaFSA), where all our recycling information is passed to WRAP to help the Government minimise waste across the hospitality sector.
THE WAR ON STRAWS
In 2018, we went to war on plastic straws. We stopped serving single-use plastic straws in all drinks where they are not necessary, unless a customer asks for one. For the very few drinks that do need straws they now come with a 100% biodegradable one. We’re confident that this simple swap can make a huge reduction in our plastic waste, without making your drinks less delicious to sip.
We had been making plans to go straw free for a while, but it was a visit from Mark our co-founder’s 4 year old son that was the final straw. He said he “didn’t want a straw with his orange juice because he didn’t want turtles to choke and die”. We made a vow then to turn Wahaca into a zero plastic straw company.
When we build our restaurants we always try to use as many recycled materials as possible. We have wood clad walls that used to be the Slug and Lettuce floor, and the floor in our Southbank bar used to be the walls in Dishoom. It’s a nice reminder of the past, but also a nice way to reduce our environmental impact when we open up.
We like to test ourselves when we build by completing “SKA Retail” environmental assessments to ensure our restaurants are as sustainable during construction as when they’re up and running. SKA helps us identify where we can reuse materials, specify materials with high recycled content, install energy efficient equipment and ensure that all timber is certified as sustainable. As a result of our efforts, all of our newly built restaurants have been rated with a Gold SKA rating.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE
We choose our carbon offsetting projects carefully, so that we’re not only helping the planet, but it’s people too, whilst giving back to the country that’s inspired everything we do at Wahaca.
We support the Improved Mexican Cookstove project, donating funds that make efficient cookstoves for low-income households in some of the poorest rural states in Mexico. The new stoves help reduce fuel use by as much as 58% and reduce exposure for families to harmful indoor air pollution.
We also support Oaxaca Wind, they produce enough electricity to power 700,000 households each year with renewable wind turbine energy! Not only that, but they are award winners for the wider positive impact on their community.