Industry News | February 11, 2010

Burgerville One Step Further in Recycling Initiatives

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Burgerville announced that it achieved a significant milestone toward its goal to offer fully compostable and recyclable packaging, making its composting and recycling program one of the most comprehensive in the fast-food industry.

The company’s launch of new, compostable ecotainer soft-drink cups and lids, in cooperation with International Paper and The Coca-Cola Company, represents the last major component of Burgerville’s packaging waste stream to go compostable. Burgerville is the first quick-service restaurant chain to use these compostable paper cups company-wide. With the transition to this cup, Burgerville’s composting, recycling, and sustainable-packaging system is closer to its goal to divert 85 percent of the restaurant chain’s waste stream from landfills. The only remaining non-recyclable items include plastic and foil condiment packs, such as ketchup packets.

“With the launch of the ecotainer, almost all of Burgerville’s packaging has been converted to components made from plant-based, renewable resources that can be commercially composted or recycled, which is making a significant impact on our work to reduce our environmental footprint,” says Alison Dennis, Burgerville’s director of supply chain. “Our restaurants are hearing great feedback from our guests about the new compostable cups and how our composting and recycling program is making a positive difference in the communities we serve.”

Burgerville began composting, recycling, and using sustainable packaging in its restaurants in early 2007. Today, Burgerville is composting and recycling everywhere it can. Thirty-seven Burgerville locations with access to commercial hauling services are composting and/or recycling, and 21 locations have dining room solutions where guests have the option to sort their waste, or where team members sort waste collected from tables. Prior to the new compostable cup launch, Burgerville was more than 50 percent of the way toward the ultimate 85 percent diversion goal. After the compostable cup program is fully introduced, Burgerville will be conducting a full waste audit in 2010 to benchmark their progress. Burgerville’s next goal is to partner with government, industry, and community leaders to bring commercial composting and recycling solutions to cities in Oregon and Washington that do not currently have access.

The new ecotainer cup, made by International Paper in cooperation with The Coca-Cola Company, is made using fiber sourced from sustainably managed forests that meet the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) chain-of-custody standards. It uses Ingeo, a plant-based polylactic acid (PLA) coating, to create a water-resistant barrier. ecotainer products meet the ASTM standards for commercial compostability and are accepted by Cedar Grove Composting facilities, where all Burgerville's compostable waste is processed.

"The Coca-Cola Company's vision is to be the industry leader in packaging, energy, and climate protection," says Portia McKissic, senior commercialization manager for The Coca-Cola Company. "Working with industry leaders like Burgerville, we can play a role in protecting and preserving the planet."

In the future, Burgerville hopes to see more partnerships between companies looking to make a commitment to sustainable business practices. By setting new industry standards with their composting, recycling, and sustainable packaging system, Burgerville is helping to develop innovative ways for other companies to pursue environmentally-friendly initiatives.

“Collaborations across the supply chain, like the one among Burgerville, International Paper and Coca-Cola, make it easy for consumers to make sustainable choices,” says Greg Wanta, vice president of International Paper’s Foodservice Business. “Burgerville is an industry recognized leader in sustainability initiatives and we are excited that ecotainer is such a critical part of their packaging and waste management solution.”