Oyster Oyster turns Champagne bottles into ceramics
Oyster Oyster chef Rob Rubba is turning trash into treasure at his Michelin-starred Shaw restaurant, using a cutting-edge machine to crush used wine bottles that are transformed into beautiful ceramics.
Why it matters: Rubba walks the sustainable walk — to start, his hyper-local, mostly vegan restaurant never uses plastics — and making plateware from recyclables is the next step.
How it works: Rubba procured a $10,000 AquaTools crusher that turns the restaurant's spent bottles into a fine, glassy sand.
- The ceramicists at Material Things Studio near Hyattsville, Md., transform the sand into plates by baking it in a clay mold.
Zoom in: Oyster Oyster's first line of plates are used for snacks in the tasting menu, accompanied by a glass of Ruinart Blanc Singulier — a new climate change-minded release from France's oldest Champagne house.
Between the lines: The machine is no small expense for a tiny, independent venture like Oyster Oyster — but there are other reasons to do it besides upcycling tableware.
- The process makes bottles more easily recyclable, reducing their volume by around 90%, according to the manufacturer. The process also requires fewer fuel-consuming pick-ups.
What they're saying: "You'll often see these machines marketed towards hotels and larger restaurants — imagine how much glassware they're going through," says Rubba. "For us, we want to have control of our waste."
What's next: More plates! Potentially for purchase alongside the restaurant's other sustainable efforts like homemade candles fashioned from local beeswax and filtered cooking oil. And (fingers crossed) that addictive marigold butter.
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