Oscar's Cafe owner Oscar Gul feels heartsick when he thinks about the amount of waste he has seen tossed from cafes during his almost 30-year career in hospitality.
When he opened his own cafe eight years ago, he was determined to put simple - but effective - processes in place to reduce and recycle waste.
Oscar's Cafe in Bruce separates out the food waste, inviting the public to collect scraps such as coffee grinds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable waste, for their own compost and worm farms. About 50 10-litre tubs of scraps are taken each week.
The cafe also uses biodegradable coffee cups and packaging, collect soft plastics for recycling, re-use cardboard boxes for their meal deliveries and send bottle lids to Aranda's Lids4Kids project.
The Turkish-born pastry chef, who started in hospitality when he was just 14, also worked in Europe before moving to Australia. It was here he saw food recycling in action.
"During my university, I went to Germany and Belgium to work at restaurants, this was 22 years ago. I was so impressed by what I saw in Germany. There were five different bins for glass and plastics, cardboard and different scraps," he said.
"When I came to Australia, it hurt me to see the waste."
He moved to Canberra 11 years ago to work for restaurants in the city and suburbs, before opening Oscar's Cafe in the University of Canberra's UniLodge precinct in Bruce, eight years ago.
The community has followed his lead with gusto. There is a sign outside the restaurant to take the scraps. Regulars will turn up all the time. He also posts on Facebook when the scraps start to build up.
"I get 50, 100 people asking, 'Is it still available?', 'Is it still available?'. People are craving for it," he said.
Geoff Jenkins, 73, of Stirling, turned up at the cafe on Wednesday, to collect some scraps, working on his compost for the garden.
"This is really good. It's excellent," he said. "My wife likes it too because I get some exercise [breaking down the scraps]."
Oscar, who has one son Aslan, nine, with wife Louise Hudson, says he is passionate about doing his bit for the environment, not least for future generations.
"I hear the news, I worry about climate change. There are islands of plastic in the oceans and it kills me," he said.
Oscar is more than keen to help show other cafes how easy it is to set up in-house recycling.
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