By using the 95 percent PCR, the Subway brand is keeping 2.62 million pounds of plastic from hitting the landfills, which represents about 500,000 gallons, or 10,000 barrels, of petroleum needed to make the plastic bowls and lids.
"We have made a commitment to look at everything with an eye towards taking the steps necessary to make positive, sustainable changes," says marketing director Elizabeth Stewart, who oversees the brand's sustainability efforts. "We are excited to be able to provide one salad bowl and lid made from two recycled bottles. This is one step where we have come almost full-circle in our sustainability efforts."
The salad bowls and lids are used in most of the Subway brand's 36,000-plus locations around the world and were created by Pactiv using PET (polyethylene terephalate). Pactiv buys soda and water bottles, which are recycled at its facilities and made into salad bowls and lids. The Subway chain is looking at additional pieces of plastic packaging that can be done the same way as well.
"We have worked with Pactiv over the years to redesign our salad bowls to use less plastic material while still holding the same amount of food," says Michael Fox, packaging technologist for the Subway brand. "Using recycled materials, and reducing the amount of new virgin plastic, allows us to create a more sustainable product that works just as well as its predecessor. And we are able to do this without increasing costs. This is something we are all excited about."
In addition to the salad bowl initiative, the Subway brand is partnering with The Nature Conservancy, the world's leading conservation organization, to help raise awareness through social media for the Conservancy's second annual Picnic for the Planet celebration, which will take place on Earth Day, April 22.
Picnic for the Planet is designed to nurture people's connection to the planet and the food it provides and is part of the Conservancy's "All Hands on Earth," campaign which aims to build an active, global community for the environment and provide everyday ways for people to get involved in creating a healthier earth. The Subway brand is encouraging people to grab their favorite sub and join the picnic.
Also in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Subway brand is providing reusable Fresh Fit For Kids meal bags with Conservancy themes from Mar. 1 through May 31. With the goal of highlighting the environment and the need for everyone to do their part to preserve and protect it, the reusable bags feature species benefiting from the Conservancy's conservation efforts across air, land and sea and are available in the almost 25,000 restaurants in the U.S. Reusable bags have been used in the U.S. and Canada since 2009.
"We are proud of the steps we have taken in our sustainability efforts, but we know there is more to do" Stewart says. "We know we are in a position to make a positive environmental impact. It is what our customers expect of us; it's what our franchisees demand of us; and what we are committed to do."
The SUBWAY brand is committed to providing a range of great tasting, healthier food choices while reducing its environmental footprint and creating a positive influence in the communities it serves around the world. Over the past several years, the brand has switched to products and practices that improve the sustainability of its supply chain, as well as improve energy efficiency, water conservation, and food and water quality and reduce its waste stream.
The brand has also made a commitment to fully support principles of responsible farming, fishing and animal husbandry—for the long term sustainability of the earth's natural resources. Subway franchisees are encouraged to contribute to their communities, promote diversity and choose "environmentally friendly" options and business practices such as building Eco-Restaurants or incorporating elements of Eco-Restaurants into their existing restaurants.
In the U.S., 100 percent of the standard beverages, chips, cookies, beef, pork, poultry, cheese, eggs, sauces & dressings, soup, yogurt packaging paper and cleaning chemicals used in Subway restaurants are produced in the U.S.