North East eateries and producers cut waste down to size

There is an ever-growing consciousness about it; it’s cool to be one of those cogs in the whole process.

Lauren Salathiel

Australia generates a staggering amount of waste every year.

THINKING INSIDE THE BOX: Saint Monday co-owner Chris McGorlick takes delivery of a box of quinces from a customer with an abundant supply. Pictures: MARK JESSER

THINKING INSIDE THE BOX: Saint Monday co-owner Chris McGorlick takes delivery of a box of quinces from a customer with an abundant supply. Pictures: MARK JESSER

In an upcoming series on the ABC presenter and provocateur Craig Reucassel (The Chaser) will tackle the growing issues of waste in the three-part documentary War on Waste.

The daily morning coffee fix creates nearly a billion disposable coffee cups which go to landfill each year.

Saint Monday offers patrons a basket of reusable coffee cups to borrow and return, biodegradable and compostable takeaway packaging and stainless steel straws for use in the cafe. The furniture and decor have been largely repurposed and the menu is informed by fresh, seasonal produce and ethically-sourced meat. 

Ms Salathiel says their regular customers willingly share their sustainability journey.

WHOLESOME APPROACH: Vegan-friendly iced doughnuts are a drawcard among sweets, cakes and bread baked on site at Yackandandah cafe Saint Monday.

WHOLESOME APPROACH: Vegan-friendly iced doughnuts are a drawcard among sweets, cakes and bread baked on site at Yackandandah cafe Saint Monday.

“It’s core to what we’re doing here (at Saint Monday) and at home,” she says.

“It’s being able to nourish ourselves and our community; it makes a lot of sense to support our community.”

Mr Davidson says Bright Brewery began sending spent yeast, hops and grain to Bogong Horseback Adventures’ working farm in 2017 in exchange for pork in future.

“We have a long-standing arrangement for our spent grain going to cows but cows can’t have yeast or hops,” he says.

“Pigs can take spent grain, yeast or hops matter; all the extracts from the brewing process.

“This allows us to significantly reduce our waste and creates a circular economy, which keeps our environmental impact down.”

Mr McGorlick says Saint Monday thrives on being part of the North East food economy and linking with dozens of small scale primary producers.

REAL DEAL: Bright Brewery sends spent yeast, hops and grain to a Tawonga South primary producer.

REAL DEAL: Bright Brewery sends spent yeast, hops and grain to a Tawonga South primary producer.

“When we take people’s produce and prepare it we pass on their stories too,” Mr McGorlick says.

“Customers are not just eating eggs; they can get the whole story. They want to know what makes our eggs so RAD (from Real and Delicious Growers at Bungowannah) and we can tell them or they will want the story behind Greenwood and Grogan Produce (Allans Flat biodynamic vegetables).” 

The cafe makes its own preserves, syrups, sodas, bread, cakes and vegan doughnuts.

“There is a lot of thinking on your feet and being creative with seasonal ingredients,” Ms Salathiel says.

“If someone brings in boxes of quinces that needs a creative approach.”

Ms Salathiel says people are increasingly considering sustainability.

“There is a growing thoughtfulness about this approach in people’s home-cooking and with farmers’ markets popping up all over the place,” she says.

“There is an ever-growing consciousness about it; it’s cool to be one of those cogs in the whole process.

“We’re lucky because the North East is abuzz with people doing it.”

Bookings are essential for the Food For Thought dinner at www.highcountryharvest.com.au.