Leaders from the National Restaurant Association, Georgia-Pacific Professional, and the coffee Goliath Starbucks announced today efforts to improve recycling among restaurant consumers.
The announcement occurred at the National Restaurant Association, Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago, which runs until May 24.
The partnership is meant to help Starbucks reach its goal of making all its cups recyclable by 2015.
Efforts between Georgia-Pacific and Starbucks will be three-prong to help the company reach its goal, says John Mulcahy, Georgia-Pacific Professional’s vice president of strategy & category effectiveness.
The three focuses are consumer engagement, making it easy for Starbucks patrons to recycle their cups; collection, making it financially feasible for sorting facilities; and processing, ensuring facilities are equipped to recycle the cups.
In 2009 QSR reported on Starbucks’ recycling efforts. At that point the company’s goal was to have all its cups recyclable by the year 2012. That goal has sense been pushed back, and test cities such as Chicago have begun piloting programs.
“In order for this to be successful, it needs to scale up,” Mulcahy says of the testing that’s being done. “We need to get other stores, other cities, and other businesses involved.”
The companies are using the annual gathering of restaurateurs to grow their efforts and get other industry leaders involved.
“Sustainability is more than a fad,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research & Knowledge Group of the NRA. “It’s the new way of doing business in the restaurant industry.”
According to NRA research, 64 percent of quick serves have recycling programs, with the Northeast leading the country as the region with the most restaurants with recycling programs.
About half of consumers say they are willing to spend more at restaurants with recycling programs.
“We believe sustainability is a combination of environmental, economic, and social factors,” Mulcahy says.
That belief was echoed by Starbucks and the NRA during the morning’s announcement.
“There has never been an industry solution, but we’re certainly getting closer,” Mulcahy says of their recycling efforts.
The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the restaurant industry's largest trade show. It takes place in Chicago's McCormick Place until Tuesday, May 24.
For more information, visit QSR at booth #4861.
By Blair Chancey