New York-based Just Salad, known for its fast-casual restaurant concept that utilizes reusable containers, has just released its 2021 Sustainability Report.
In an introductory letter, Nick Kenner, founder and CEO, and Sandra Noonan, chief sustainability officer, placed emphasis on the company's commitment to "everyday health and sustainability."
"What makes this mission so exciting – and challenging – is that 'health' and 'sustainability' are evolving concepts," they stated in the letter. "They change over time, and they mean different things to different people. At Just Salad, we recognize this. 'Everyday health and sustainability' is a moving target, due to the pace and complexity of climate change. It’s also subject to debate, given the diversity of human experience. And it’s hard to achieve, given the demands and stresses of modern living."
Moving forward, they explained how Just Salad's "vision wheel" aligns with the company's mission to provide a sustainable dining experience, one that is waste-free, climate-smart, affordable, impactful, plant-forward and consciously convenient.
Efforts to combat food waste were highlighted. The company recently partnered with Too Good to Go to divert surplus foo. An investment from Closed Loop Partners in July 2021 solidified Just Salad's commitment to reusable packaging.
The Sustainability Report also summarized a waste audit, which indicated the company diverted 85 percent of its total waste from landfills. The figured factored in food waste and compostable packaging, about 74 percent of the company's overall waste.
Undiverted organics and recyclable metal, glass, paper and plastic materials were identified as additional materials for waste reduction. The report stated that by creating a circular system for these additional materials, Just Salad could reach a 92 percent waste diversion rate.
The company also analyzed consumer sentiment about reusable packaging, saying that, "utilizing the methodology of Keller’s study, we surveyed our customers to get a sense of where they are in their shift from single-use to reusable packaging. Our survey showed that 65% of our customers were interested in using fewer single-use containers, but either have not started reducing, did not know how, or didn’t think it was possible."
A partnership with the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology provided insight into the life cycle of Just Salad's reusable MyBowls.
With a focus on the "global warming and water consumption impacts associated with each bowl type at each stage of its life cycle," the assessment looked at raw material extraction; manufacturing; packaging and distribution; single-use or reuse; and end-of-life recycling, composting or landfilling.
Furthermore, the impact of using the reusable bowl for customers was examined. According to the report, " a customer who washes and reuses their bowl once per week for an entire year could create 89 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use 78 percent less water, on average, compared to the same number of uses of disposable fiber bowls."
Hear Sandra Noon, CSO at Sustainability Talks at WasteExpo, May 9- 12 in Las Vegas. Attend for real talk as the waste and recycling industry takes on plastics, packaging, and other environmental challenges – and our role in building a sustainable future.