By Conrad MacKerron, Senior Vice President
A lot more fast food packaging will be taking a circular trip for recycling, rather than a one-way trip to the landfill, thanks to our Waste program efforts. Fast food giants Chipotle and YUM! Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) set substantial food waste and packaging recycling commitments this spring following engagement and the filing of shareholder resolutions. Equally important, Dunkin’ Donuts has agreed to conduct a recycling feasibility study for its new polypropylene coffee cups, with results to be released later this year.
Chipotle has demonstrated leadership this year in committing to a 50% food and packaging waste diversion goal by 2020, similar to one announced by McDonald’s in 2014. Chipotle will divert packaging away from landfills by composting and recycling. The company estimates that about 875 of its locations (nearly half) already offer front-of-house recycling options to customers for at least one packaging item such as paper, plastic, glass, and metal, and 138 locations are composting organics. The company also says 80% of its restaurants are recycling back-of-house cardboard packaging. Based on this information, we believe Chipotle could become the industry leader on packaging recycling and composting.
YUM! announced a similar diversion goal by 2020 focusing initially on food waste reduction, as well as recycling of back-of-counter oil and corrugate.