The Wendy's Company announced a commitment to advance sustainable packaging solutions in the foodservice industry and its own operations through its partnership with the NextGen Consortium.
The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year partnership of foodservice industry leaders convened by Closed Loop Partners' Center for the Circular Economy. Wendy's joins the Consortium as a Supporting Partner, alongside other industry leaders, to address single-use food packaging waste. Currently, the Consortium is executing its NextGen Cup Challenge, which is focused on identifying new and existing cup solutions designed to optimize the hot and cold fiber cup used by many foodservice operations, including Wendy's. Challenge winners will be announced on February 27, 2019 at GreenBiz.
"We're thrilled to have Wendy's join us and other like-minded, innovative partners to participate in the NextGen Consortium," says Kate Daly, executive director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners. "Together, we can work to develop smarter packaging solutions and combat the global environmental consequences of single-use food packaging."
"At Wendy's, we know that our customers are increasingly aware of packaging waste and its impact on the environment, and they're already doing their part to be more conscious about their product use and recycling habits," says Liliana Esposito, Wendy's chief communications officer. "Our Squarely Sustainable approach is the next step for Wendy's—embracing our role as part of the solution. By sharing goals and regular updates, we'll outline areas where we need to drive progress and hold ourselves accountable to our commitments. One commitment is to engage in partnerships that help us arrive at smart solutions, like our new partnership with the NextGen Consortium."
Squarely Sustainable, a nod to the Wendy's brand's signature square hamburgers, is the Company's four-pronged approach to sustainability:
- Use Less and reduce unnecessary materials use;
- Use Better and seek certified sustainable materials where possible;
- Spark Action by identifying consumer-facing actions that can drive change; and
- Engage Partners to work with others to find solutions on important issues.
With its packaging, Wendy's has focused on eliminating certain materials of concern and removing unnecessary paper and plastic waste. For instance, Wendy's eliminated Styrofoam from restaurants in 2012. And more recently, Wendy's reduced fiber and plastic in several packaging formats, including fry cartons, straws and bags, reducing by several million pounds the amount of paper and plastic materials used in these items. Yet, with a growing need to identify environmentally sustainable solutions and a lack of broadly available alternatives to single use plastic and paper, Wendy's is eager to engage with the NextGen Consortium to accelerate progress.