Restaurant in Austria where diners exchange biodegradable waste for a meal

As you may know, here at St Martin Chalets, with the help of our wonderful guests, we recycle everything we possibly can: paper, plastic, glass, cartons, batteries, organic waste – you name it, if we can separate and recycle it, we will.

Biomat restaurant Vienna

But we’re not the only ones to manage our organic waste responsibly. In New York, for example, there’s a scheme called Hello Compost, through which fresh food is provided to low income families in return for their compostable goods. Now an Austrian organisation is following their lead. A temporary restaurant called ‘BIOMAT‘ has opened in Vienna, where diners can exchange their biodegradable waste for a meal.

Inspired by Vienna Design Week 2013, which took place in September, the BIOMAT restaurant was formed as a collaboration between the renewable resources company BIOMAT and the Vera Wiedermann Design Studio. Once open, diners were invited to bring bags of compostable goods, which were weighed, assigned an energy value and converted into an equivalent value in Euros. The restaurant then took the waste and handed customers a voucher equivalent to the value of their garbage. This coupon could then be used to pay for part, or all, of their meals. Clever huh? And what happened to the waste? Well, in almost poetic fashion, the rubbish was sent to a local urban farm, where it was broken down into biogas, which – you’ve already guessed it – could be used for cooking!

Sadly the restaurant was only open for the duration of the festival, but the concept of converting biological waste into biogas is a neat one. Perhaps there’s a longer term solution in there somewhere?

Information from: and