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    Chipotle to Divert 50 Percent of Waste from Landfills by 2020

  • Industry News April 30, 2019
    Chipotle/Brian Schulman
    With a goal of diverting 50 percent of its restaurant waste from landfills by 2020, Chipotle conducted detailed waste audits to better understand its waste patterns.

    Chipotle Mexican Grill announced the publication of its 2018 Sustainability Report, sharing how it's cultivating a better world with new initiatives and goals for sustainability. Covering everything from animal welfare to local produce, philanthropy to employee benefits, energy reduction and recycling, the company is focused on making a difference and leading the industry with aggressive goals, innovative thinking and transparency.

    Chipotle uses innovation to reduce restaurant waste, upcycling plastic gloves to plastic trash bags in a new pilot program across Portland and Sacramento Chipotle restaurants.

    With a goal of diverting 50 percent of its restaurant waste from landfills by 2020, Chipotle conducted detailed waste audits to better understand its waste patterns. In doing so, the team learned that 95 percent of all gloves used in restaurants end up in a landfill. As there was no known commercial recycling available for the gloves, Chipotle vowed to find a solution. Upon discovering the materials in the gloves were the same as the recycled trash bags used by the brand, Chipotle partnered with Revolution Bag in Salinas, California to start a pilot program turning plastic gloves into trash bags. What started as a pilot in eight restaurants across Portland is now expanding into 17 restaurants in Sacramento.

    "If we truly want to be leaders in this space, we cannot just settle for the best available option," says Caitlin Leibert, Director of Sustainability at Chipotle. "There is no 'one size fits all solution' for sustainability. We want to revolutionize the way people think about waste and the potential of everyday items like gloves and trash bags."

    In addition to piloting unique programs to reduce waste like the gloves to bags program, the 2018 Sustainability Report shares Chipotle's 2018 accomplishments towards global sustainability. Highlights from the report include:

    • A 25 percent reduction in average restaurant waste since 2016
    • 42 percent waste diversion from the landfill (with a goal of 50 percent by 2020)
    • 100 percent of napkins and paper bags were made with 100 percent recycled fiber
    • 100 percent of the paper in cups were Sustainable Forestry Initiative Certified
    • 88 percent of restaurants had a diversion program (recycling and / or compost for packaging)

    By 2020, Chipotle is committing to:

    • Testing a recyclable or compostable cup and lid including a strawless option
    • Reducing the amount of plastic in cutlery by 20 percent
    • Having a diversion program (recycling and / or compost) at 100 percent of restaurants

    In addition to an overview of efforts in waste reduction, the Sustainability Report covers Chipotle's environment, people, food and animal goals and accomplishments with compelling stats and unprecedented industry transparency.

    "Being transparent with the world holds us accountable for our actions," says Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer at Chipotle. "We want everyone to know exactly what we are doing, from how our food is raised to how it is served. We are doing our part to help limit our impact on the environment and to change the way people think about trash, energy and food."

    News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.