Waste management is a sustainability initiative every green business takes seriously — but beyond that it’s a very real environmental responsibility that every business has to address.

Whether your business participates and promotes recycling programs reducing waste destined for the landfill or reaches for those green stars by aiming for zero-waste; waste management is a challenge every business has to take on.

For this edition of Success Stories, we’re going to look at Green Seal Certified Sandwich Me In located in Chicago and see how they’ve managed to go totally trash-free.

“According to Justin Vrany, owner of the establishment, while a typical restaurant around 8 gallons (30 litres) by volume of waste is produced each hour, Sandwich Me In took two whole years to produce in amount,” reports Waste Management World.

So how did a restaurant like Sandwich Me In achieve a zero-waste status?

Owner and operator of Sandwich Me In, Justin Vrany, stepped up when it came to taking responsibility for the waste of his restaurant. To ensure proper recycling methods, Vrany personally oversees it all.

“Sandwich Me In is a sustainable practicing restaurant — by that, I mean we have no waste at all,” says Vrany in the How One Chicago Restaurant Went Totally Trash-Free video.

After thorough management of his waste, he was left with eight pounds of garbage.  A local artist claimed the remaining waste to use for a sculpture — allowing Vrany to follow through with his trash-free plan and achieving a zero-waste status.

Not to mention Sandwich Me In consumes renewable energy for operations and only uses local meat and produce for their menu — making it an energy-efficient and sustainable restaurant.

Vrany learned about sustainability and the environment in school and expanded his mind before he made the commitment to run a sustainable business himself. His devotion is evident in all his business decisions and he follows through with his personal sustainability initiatives.

Aside from their brilliant waste management strategy, Sandwich Me In makes sustainable efforts in other business areas too

For the store of this quick-serve sandwich shop (that also delivers and caters), 90% of their build-out involved reused materials. Sandwich Me In is powered by wind energy and all their used oil is recycled to maintain bio-diesel engines, according to their site.

“Our goal is to provide all natural, high quality food and an exceptional service experience at an affordable price. 98% of the menu is made ‘in house’ from the fresh baked bread to the wood-smoked meats,” says Sandwich Me In’s official website.

Customers at Sandwich Me In appreciate the sustainability effort and can enjoy a sweet learning experience about their ingredient sourcing from local farms. This quick-serve sandwich shop is anything but average — it’s a sustainable restaurant role model. 

Here’s an inspiring video

Vrany always wanted to be a chef even at a young age. Well, BizEnergy celebrates the fact he grew up to become both a chef and environmental leader. His passion for sustainability is what makes his stand out as a business owner.


For businesses getting green, we have incentives.


Image credit: YouTube