Industry News | April 16, 2009

New Subway Salad Bowls Save 5,000 Barrels of Oil Per Year

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Subway is turning its efforts toward a healthier environment. With the help of PWP Industries, Subway is slimming down and greening up its plastic salad bowls and lids.

“Our business is about serving convenient yet healthy foods," says Subway World Headquarters spokesperson Elizabeth Stewart, director of Marketing & Sustainability. "By switching our salad bowl materials to a more environmentally friendly profile and reducing the amount of plastic needed to produce them, we can attain significant conservation of our natural resources.”

PWP approached the Subway salad bowl re-design in two phases, both of which were aimed at improving the environmental profile of the bowl.

First, to make the Subway salad bowl as green as possible, the materials were changed from rarely recycled OPS to PETE, the number-one most recycled plastic. The PETE used in the Subway bowl isn’t just recyclable, it uses PETE resin combined with 10 percent post-consumer recycled content (PCR) instead of 100 percent virgin resin. This recycled content mainly consists of soda and water bottles that have been reclaimed, washed, and recycled back into usable FDA compliant raw materials to use in PWP’s packaging. This process diverts approximately 270,000 pounds of plastic from landfills every year.

In the next phase, a strategic package re-design reduced the amount of plastic used and, at the same time, achieved a dramatically different look for the bowl. By introducing more swirls, which reduce surface area, it takes less plastic to produce than a straight-walled bowl. The second phase also addressed reducing the diameter of the package from 10 inches to 9 while still maintaining the same 32-ounce volume.

With just these few insightful changes, the new salad bowl will:

  • Reduce the amount of plastic material used annually by 711,780 pounds and save the equivalent of 5,488 barrels of oil annually
  • Reduce 19,540 cases of corrugate annually
  • Reduce the carbon footprint by 20.9 percent or 84.8 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per thousand containers produced.