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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

How Corporate America is Leading a Green Packaging Revolution

Whether felt in their hearts, green washing or some combination, large American companies are forcing change on packaging in order to reduce waste. For companies that are fortunate to sell products to Wal-Mart, McDonald’s or Starbucks, they will do just about anything to maintain the relationship. These corporate giants have leverage over their vendors, and it’s working. In addition, many “copycat” retailers are following suit, extending the benefits.

As the world’s top retailer, fast food restaurant and coffee house set new corporate policies about more environmentally-sensitive products, vendors scramble to respond and provide creative alternatives. In addition, competitors follow the industry leaders, which in turn begin to effect real change on our environment.

A new report called Waste and Opportunity 2015, analyzed the packaging practices of 47 fast food chains, beverage companies and consumer goods and grocery companies — highlighting leaders and laggards in these sectors. Read here http://on.nrdc.org/1gEnLue  After analyzing companies based on four pillars:

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  1. Source Reduction: if they’ve switched to reusable packaging or packaging that uses less virgin material.
  2. Recycled Content: If they use recycled content in new products
  3. Recyclability and Materials Use: If their packaging uses materials that are difficult to recycle, such as flexible laminate pouches.
  4. Boosting Materials Recycling: Whether they’ve made it easy for consumers to recycle by offering bins, etc.

The results are not encouraging — not one company surveyed managed to earn “Best Practices” status.

The traditional fall planning season is right around the corner – it’s time for foodservice companies to exercise leadership and reduce, recycle and reuse. Compostable servingware is a great start.

Just a decade ago, very few people would associate environmental activism with Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Starbucks.  These companies are now leading a sustainable revolution, leading to a cleaner, greener world.

 

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