Montreal

Zero-waste pub coming to St-Hubert Plaza later this year

The eight people behind La Cale are taking on each challenge as they come, looking for waste-reduction solutions before the pub opens.

One founder says laws prevent a truly zero-waste pub, but they can get close

The aim of La Cale is to produce as little waste as possible. Josh Gendron and Lann Dery are two of the eight people behind the project, which is expected to open later this year. (Facebook)

A new, eco-friendly pub is coming to Montreal's St-Hubert Plaza later this year with the aim of offering customers a waste-free watering hole.

But bringing waste production down to absolute zero is no easy task, Josh Gendron told CBC Montreal's Daybreak Tuesday.

"There are some things that are out of our control like provincial or municipal laws — like the fact that we need to print a receipt every time a customer wants to pay," he said. "Most printers print it on non-recyclable paper."

The eight people behind La Cale are taking on each challenge as they come, looking for waste-reduction solutions before the pub opens.

The friends are a tight-knit group who decided it was time to offer Montrealers a place to drink that offers reusable napkins, no plastic straws and a minimal amount of food to reduce the pub's impact on the environment.

Reusing non-recyclables

Wine bottles, Gendron said, are another challenge as many are not recyclable. To combat this issue, he said the group has been in touch with local artisanal producers who may be interested in reusing their bottles.

Regulations require disposable paper towels to be on site, but locally made, reusable napkins will be offered to customers.

To combat food waste, he said small, medium and large portions will be available. That way, people aren't ordering more than they can eat, leaving half a plate of food to be scraped into the trash.

"You can request your order to fit what your body needs," he said.

People are encouraged to bring their own reusable straw but, otherwise, plastic straws won't be available.

The Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie borough doesn't offer curbside collection of commercial recyclable material, but Gendron said the group will hire a private service.

Successful crowdfunding campaign

Offering zero-waste service is not too costly, but it is time consuming, he said. Their aim is to provide clients with a pleasant, welcoming atmosphere.

"Our goal is to make a warm place where people can go out," Gendron said, noting he is confident that the idea has local support after running a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year. 

He said the restaurant is also gaining momentum on social media platforms like Facebook, well before its planned opening in the late spring or early summer.

"We wanted to demonstrate it's pleasant to be in a zero-waste environment without the experience of the customer being altered," he said.

With files from CBC Montreal’s Daybreak

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