The point at which a business has the closest relationship with its customer is that time when the customer has made the purchase and is ready to use or consume the product. In the casual restaurant world, that often involves packaging of the food for take out. Burgerville, a “quick” food burger restaurant, and Pagliacci’s, a pizza restaurant, have both used that opportunity to educate their customers about a variety of “green” issues. Here’s how they do it.
Launched in 1961, Burgerville is a regional food chain of 38 restaurants in southern Washington and northern Oregon that is focused on serving fresh food from local sources. A strong emphasis on the Triple Bottom Line means that Burgerville buys meat, vegetables and fruit, and dairy products from local growers and suppliers.
Burgerville’s Springtime Seed program turns “Happy Meals” into “Healthy Meals” and teaches children where their food comes from. This spring, each kid’s meal comes with a seed packet and an illustrated wooden plant stake in a fun activity bag. The seeds – cucumbers, snap peas, carrots, or nasturtiums – are packaged in partnership with Zenger Farm, a working urban farm in southeast Portland OR.
By turning the bag into its own activity page, Burgerville eliminated an activity booklet that had been dropped into a generic product bag in the past. Now the bag is no longer destined to be a single-use container headed directly to the trash or recycling bin, it is a practical educational tool.
What goes into the packaging?
1. The Bag: Made from 100% local, renewable resources and consists of 40% recycled content. Inks are water-based and adhesives are starch-based. The bags are converted in Beaverton, OR.
2. Seed Packages: Made from 100% pre- and post-consumer recycled fiber and printed with soy-based inks.
3. Plant Stakes: Made in Maine from New England white birch, a renewable, sustainable and biodegradable resource.
Burgerville doesn’t stop with cutting down on waste paper; the company also purchases wind power credits equal to 100% of its electricity use, offsetting 17.4 million pounds of CO2 annually. That’s the equivalent to taking 1,700 cars off the road. They also recycle used canola oil into biodiesel, producing roughly 40,000 gallons a year.
Learn more about Burgerville’s business case for sustainability here.
Across the country, a ringing doorbell and the call “Pizza’s here!” signal the arrival of one of America’s favorite meals. Since the 1960s, pizza most often arrives in a big flat corrugated box; before that it came on a flat piece of corrugated in a paper bag. And according to Pizza Today, an industry trade publication, Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza every day. That’s about 75 football fields!
Launched in 1979 in Seattle’s University District, Pagliacci Pizza now operates 16 delivery kitchens and 6 pizzerias in Puget Sound. Yes, pizza is still delivered in those big flat boxes, but these are boxes with a message.
A box that arrives regularly on the family dining table is the ideal place to begin that educational process. Pagliacci recently made major changes in their boxes – both the corrugated out of which the boxes are made and the messages on them.
Rather than focus on what goes into making the pizzas, as the company had in the past, now the boxes are informational tools to help consumers understand the benefits of responsible forest management and regional production networks. The new design describes the life cycle of the box from the forest and papermaking to consumer composting.
In keeping with the company’s regional strategy, Pagliacci buys corrugated made of 50% Pacific Northwest-sourced FSC-certified pulp and 50% recycled post-consumer content. Both the virgin and recycled content are milled in Port Townsend WA, just a short ferry ride from Seattle. Port Townsend Paper’s green practices include renewable energy sources and state of the art pollution control systems. Crown Packaging, Richmond BC (just 120 miles from Port Townsend and 135 miles from Seattle), converts the corrugated into finished boxes and prints them with water-based, vegetable inks.
While the corrugated is partially made with recycled post-consumer fiber, when it comes to end-of-use, pizza boxes are unfortunately not always recyclable. If the boxes have been soiled with food, they cannot be recycled, but they ARE compostable. In Puget Sound, and in many other regional waste management areas, food and yard waste is composted. And in regions where no composting services are available, corrugated is especially useful as mulch to prevent weeds.
Read about Pagliacci’s sustainability efforts here.
How are you using creative packaging to further your green strategies? Tell us, we’d like to hear from you!