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Sandwich Me In: One Restaurant. Two Years. Zero 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) — One restaurant. Two years. Zero garbage.

That’s right, Sandwich Me In, which we first profiled a few months ago, has not thrown out a single piece of garbage in two years.

Owner/chef Justin Vrany takes the concept of sustainability very seriously. He recycles 99.999 percent of the restaurant’s waste. What he couldn’t recycle, reuse or compost, he kept an eight gallon bag on the premises.

Now, even that is being reused. In a You Tube video, Vrany said a local artist has picked up the bag and is making a sculpture out of it.

So, technically, the restaurant has produced no garbage.

Eight gallons. Two years. And a lot of that was stuff brought in by customers.

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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