Baja Fresh Mexican Grill yesterday announced its 2010 “Earth Fresh” initiative. Beginning in December 2009, Baja Fresh introduced recycled napkins, recycled paper bags, recyclable burrito wrapping paper, and biodegradable plates in eight restaurants, including its Cypress, Westlake Village, Simi Valley, Beverly Hills, Tustin Marketplace, South Irvine, and Lakewood, California locations.
Understanding the current environmental climate and consumers’ desires to preserve resources, Baja Fresh president Charles Rink says “the chain is taking a more aggressive approach towards educating customers about the importance of recycling and preservation of natural resources, while maintaining the integrity and quality of the products in which we serve our food.”
All Baja Fresh paper bags in the restaurants mentioned previously now contain a minimum of 40 percent post-consumer material derived from newspaper, magazines, press room trimmings, shavings, and sorted residential mixed waste papers. Papers utilized are not made with processed chlorine or its derivatives, and converted papers are FDA compliant.
The new plates are designed to disintegrate and biodegrade quickly and safely in a professionally managed composting facility. The plates are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI identifies products that meet stringent scientifically based specifications for compostability) and the natural fibers with which they are produced are a byproduct of wheat harvest. This type of renewable resource is an excellent alternative to polystyrene foam and conventional molded fiber.
The production and use of natural, unbleached burrito wraps versus bleached paper wraps have significant impact on the world’s resources including: a 46 percent reduction in waste water, 21 percent reduction in wood pulp use, 16 percent reduction in solid waste, and a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas production. For every 1,000 tons of natural paper produced versus bleached paper of the same weight, 6,089 trees will be saved, 15 full swimming pools of waste water will be removed, and 13 garbage trucks of solid waste will be eliminated.
In response to the company’s strides to be more environmentally conscious, Rink says, “Baja Fresh recognizes the importance of the Earth’s resources and our customers’ penchant to conserve them. By offering our products in biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable packaging, not only are we meeting the requests of our guests, but also those of the environment. We will continue to seek environmentally friendly solutions for additional products used in serving Baja Fresh menu items, and we look forward to the success of the current products in test. We hope to offer them company-wide within the year.”