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Sandwich Me In: One Restaurant, One Year, Only Eight Gallons Of Garbage

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Sandwich Me In sandwiches. (Credit: Sandwich Me In)

Sandwich Me In sandwiches. (Credit: Sandwich Me In)

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By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — In one year, Justin Vrany produced only eight gallons of garbage.

That figure would be mighty impressive for one man, but it is downright mind-blowing when you consider this:

That’s the total amount of garbage generated by his Lake View restaurant, Sandwich Me In.

Eight gallons. One year. And a lot of that was garbage brought in by customers.

Vrany has taken the concept of sustainability very seriously.

When he built his restaurant, 3037 North Clark St., in 2012, he said he only filled up one-quarter of a dumpster with debris. All of the furniture and equipment in the restaurant is either used or refurbished.

All of the restaurants waste is composted or recycled. For example, the vegetable and fruit compost are sent to Byrant Family Farms in Wisconsin to feed the chickens that lay the eggs for the restaurant.

The restaurant’s power is wind-generated, Vrany says. The used oil is recycled in bio-diesel engines.

A total of 98 percent of the food is made in-house, even the drinks. Ingredients come from local farms.

Vrany estimates that his restaurant’s carbon footprint is 85 less than of what a typical quick service restaurant would use in one day.

“We want to show people that there is food out there that has taste, that can be sourced locally and can reduce the impact on the environment,” Vrany said in a video posted on the restaurant’s website.

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