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Baja Fresh expands eco-friendly packaging initiative


Baja Fresh Mexican Grill rolls out its Earth Fresh Initiative nationally, introducing earth friendly plates, bags and burrito wrappers in all restaurants. 


The company's restaurants now only uses burrito wraps that are unbleached and made from 100 percent recycled materials. The co. says that utilizing unbleached burrito wraps versus bleached paper wraps will result in a 46 percent reduction in waste water, 21 percent reduction in wood pulp use, 16 percent reduction in solid waste, and a 10 percent reduction in green house gas production. For every 1,000 tons of natural paper produced versus bleached paper of the same weight 6,089 trees will be saved, 15 full swimming pools of waste water will be removed, and 13 garbage trucks of solid waste will be eliminated.

 

Additionally, Baja Fresh paper bags are now unbleached and contain a minimum of 70 percent postconsumer material. The company's plastic to-go bags are also earth friendly as each bag is made with at least 50 percent recycled materials. Both the paper and plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable, the co. says, and only water based ink is utilized to print on the plastic bags, which in turn lowers their carbon footprints.


The new plates are designed to disintegrate and biodegrade swiftly and safely in a professionally managed composting facility. The plates are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI identifies products that meet stringent scientifically based specifications for compostability) and the natural fibers with which they are produced are a byproduct of wheat harvest. This type of renewable resource is an excellent alternative to PS foam and conventional molded fiber, the co. remarks. 


In December 2009, Baja Fresh began testing a number of environmentally friendly serving products including: recycled/recyclable paper and plastic bags, unbleached recyclable burrito wrapping paper, and biodegradable plates. After receiving positive feedback from both guests and operators, the chain has moved forward with companywide implementation of the products.

 

Understanding the current environmental climate and consumers' desire to preserve resources, Baja Fresh president Charles Rink confirmed "the chain is taking a proactive approach as many guests have told us about their desire and priority of recycling and preservation of natural resources, while recognizing the importance of maintaining the integrity and quality of the products in which we serve our food. These new products are an excellent way to accomplish this goal in tandem with helping the environment."

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