Fast-food chain Chipotle goes through roughly 375 million polyethylene gloves per year across all its locations. And since traditional recycling facilities can’t process the gloves, they are usually discarded and end up landfilled.
But now, Arkansas-based Revolution Bag is testing out a pilot program with Chipotle to recycle those plastic gloves and give them a new life. Under the program, which has rolled out at Chipotle locations in Portland, Ore., and Sacramento, Calif., employees drop their used gloves into a cardboard box. Once the box fills up, it's sealed and shipped to Revolution's plant in Salinas, Calif. There, the gloves are cleaned, shredded and turned into pellets that are melted down to form the bags.
Inc. has more details:
Every time you order a burrito, you probably don't think much about the plastic gloves your tortilla-roller wears. But millions of these gloves end up in the trash every year, which has a serious impact on the environment.
At fast-casual dining chain Chipotle, workers are required to swap gloves hourly, plus any time they switch tasks. That piles up quickly: Each location goes through around 150,000 gloves per year, 95 percent of which end up in landfills.
Enter Little Rock, Arkansas-based Revolution Bag. Founded in 2010, the company manufactures garbage bags from recycled plastic; Revolution then sells the bags to clients like Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and the city of Austin. Last year, Revolution quietly began a pilot program with Chipotle to collect used gloves from a handful of restaurants and melt them down to create bags. Now, the pilot is expanding to 25 total restaurants on the West Coast. Its success will determine whether the program goes nationwide.