terus toronto

Toronto startup aims to reduce waste at restaurants

A new Toronto startup wants to help restaurants go green by teaching them how to stay away from wasteful industry items like plastic straws and candle holders. 

Run by two award-winning environmentalists, Terus helps businesses save money and minimize trash by analyzing their business models and making changes to operational flow.

From switching takeout container providers to overhauling waste management contracts, the company has made recommendations to restaurants like Cafe Cancan, who have adopted ways to become more sustainable. 

Terus says they've diverted over 61,000 pounds of waste from landfills and helped restaurants improve their bottom line by over $27,000.

"For one restaurant, we recommended they switch from disposable candles to rechargeable LED candles, and our analysis showed a savings of $1,800 within the first year," says CEO Lucy Cullen. 

Cullen — who was one of Canada's Top 25 under 25 Environmentalists in 2017 — joined up with Emerald Award-winning President Eva Musso to create the eco-savvy startup. 

Having worked in the hospitality industry since she was 17-years-old, Cullen says she's seen firsthand the amount of garbage restaurants can produce. 

"I was shocked by the amount of waste I saw produced and (it was) all sent to landfill," she says. 

The startup now encourages companies to spend a fraction of their operational costs, which is often willingly spent on things like hospitality consultants and decor, on lessening environmental impact instead. 

Terus also offers their clients a one-hour training session for staff, so employees understand non-plastic objects can also be bad for the environment. 

"It takes a head of lettuce up to 25 years to decompose in a landfill," says Cullen, citing lack of oxygen in the landfill for the slow break down of natural materials. "That's a shocking statistic and it's why we need good waste diversion."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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