Ruby Tuesday restaurants are celebrating Earth Day this year with several new green initiatives. The international chain has more than 900 company-owned and franchised restaurants and almost 50,000 employees, and nearly all are taking part in one way or another. Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22, 2009.

Ruby Tuesday first made a commitment to minimize the negative impact on the planet and improve the company’s green standards several years ago. “It started with small changes, with regard to our supplies and paper products,” says Richard Johnson, who directed Ruby Tuesday’s initial green program. He says the company is now taking it to the next level with the launch of a website solely dedicated to this initiative,, so they can track all changes and share updates with their guests.

One of the most significant changes is to Ruby Tuesday’s signature fresh garden bar, but Executive Vice President Kimberly Grant says: “Not to worry. All of our customers’ favorite items are still there!” Ruby Tuesday is reducing its landfill waste by 320 tons per year by challenging the salad dressing vendors to repackage their products. “We went from using large rigid plastic containers to much sleeker pouches,” says Grant. As a result, Ken’s Salad Dressings received Ruby Tuesday’s 2009 Supplier of the Year Award for Change.

“From the trucks that deliver the fresh produce and meats to the restaurants to the menus our customers hold in their hands, we’re making a concerted effort to change the way we do business,” says Senior VP Mark Young. Delivery trucks no longer idle while parked at Ruby Tuesday restaurants, so exhaust emissions and fuel usage are reduced. “We’re also streamlining our delivery routes to be as efficient as possible,” Young says.

When it comes to the menu, Ruby Tuesday is partnering with printers who are also committed to making the world a better place. For example, the menu is printed on Mohawk paper, which is made from wind-generated electricity. Young says: “Our printers recycle, and they use soy-based inks to cut down the use of toxic chemicals.”

Inside the restaurant, Ruby Tuesday is now using a stackable glassware rack that consumes less water and soap thanks to an innovative “wave” design. Other energy efficiencies in the kitchen include fluorescent bulbs that illuminate the hood and cooler and low-flow pre-rinse nozzles.

At the Ruby Tuesday Restaurant Support Center, in Maryville, Tennessee, an energy management schedule has been implemented, which means at night and on weekends, the building will be cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. “We’re also recycling all of the fluorescent light bulbs from the center,” Grant says. The company has switched to reusable ink cartridges for its printers, as well. “Did you know it takes 450 years for just one cartridge to decompose? When I heard that, I just knew we had to make the switch.”

Johnson says Ruby Tuesday will continue to look for ways to build a safer, healthier, and cleaner world. “And come April 22, we welcome anyone who would like to celebrate Earth Day to join us at a local Ruby Tuesday restaurant for a flavorful and valuable dining experience with a twist that’s green.”

News, Ruby Tuesday