“Going green” is a hot topic, and many companies are figuring out ways to jump on this wagon. Not only does “going green” improve the environment, it also fosters a good image for companies, and can prove to be profitable at the same time. According to Bruce Watson, Savings Editor at DailyFinance, Starbucks and McDonald's are just two companies that are viewed as leaders in the green fast food movement.
Watson wrote that some chains, like Chipotle, have started the going green process by using solar cells and hyper-efficient plumbing. Others, like Just Salad, have started recycling. However, there is a major issue around all restaurants, and that is the use of styrofoam containers. Styrofoam containers are an oil-based product that does not break down nor can it be recycled.
McDonalds, Starbucks, and Just Salad are focused on changing their packaging. According to Watson, these companies are improving in their sourcing by cutting down on their packaging, and lobbying the FDA to increase the amount of recycled materials that are allowed in it.
In 2013 Starbucks starting selling reusable cups that last for roughly a month. Selling for a dollar apiece, these reusable cups are also profitable. Not only does it reduce the waste (allowing Starbucks to decrease its trash hauling costs), it also gives customers more of an incentive to come back. If customers use these reusable cups, they save ten percent on their refills. Just Salad offers a recycled bowl that can be reused in their stores. Customers will get free salad toppings when they bring back their bowls. McDonald's still has a way to go though, they still use styrofoam cups and platters. The cups are used for ice tea and the platters are used for pancakes. But as new items are developed to replace styrofoam hopefully we will see styrofoam being replaced throughout the food industry. Already we are seeing a win-win for companies, consumers and Mother Earth by the reduction of styrofoam containers.