Burgerville Adds Compostable Cups and Lids to Menu

Fast food chain, Burgerville, recently announced it is switching to commercially compostable cups and lids as part of its goal to divert 85 percent of the company’s waste stream from landfills. Burgerville is the first fast food chain to use compostable paper cups company-wide.

The compostable “ecotainer” soda cups and lids, developed by International Paper in cooperation with Coca-Cola, are made from fiber from sustainably-managed forests that meet the Sustainable Forestry Institute (SFI) guidelines.  A corn-based coating, NatureWorks Ingeo, is used in the cups and lids to create a water-resistant barrier. And ecotainer products require less energy to produce than traditional paper cups.

Burgerville has also teamed with the Portland Roasting Company in an effort to bring Farm Friendly Direct coffee to all its customers. Proceeds from coffee sales help improve the lives of coffee farmers and their communities though the building of community centers, schools and water treatment centers.

The award-winning company has received several accolades over the year including the Recycler of the Year Award by the Washington State Recycling Association and the 2006 Green Power Leadership Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy for its corporate-wide purchase of wind power.  The company also received the Food Network Award Best Better Burger for its great tasting burgers and commitment to sustainable practices.  With 39 locations in Washington and Oregon, the restaurant chain is committed to using locally grown ingredients, vegetarian-fed, antibiotic-free beef and cage-free eggs.

The company, established in 1961,  began its recycling and composting initiative in 2007.  Nearly all of the company’s packaging is made from plant-based or renewable resources that can be recycled or composted.  Today, plastic and foil condiment packets are the only non-compostable or non-recyclable packaging Burgerville uses.  As a “work in progress,” the company is asking for feedback  from employees and customers about the recycling  and composting program.

Jace is the Internet Feature Writer for Suite101 and is the Holidays and Working Moms Examiner for Examiner.com. She is a regular contributor for Energy Boom, EcoWorldly and PlanetSave. She particularly enjoys writing about unusual and downright wacky environmental stories and issues plaguing wildlife and animals.Besides writing, Jace is also passionate about online safety and issues concerning children. As an Internet Safety educator, she teaches online safety and technology to 600 elementary-aged children every week for her local school district.Jace has two children who are both in college and is also mom to a slew of pets.

6 responses

  1. People are fast to jump on the “Burgerville is progressive” bandwagon – but shouldn't we at least explore all the facts?
    Obesity is one of the top killers in society – adding tremendous costs to healthcare. Fast food profits from externalizing costs to society – just as tobacco did. The Cheeseburger Bill is fashioned from the same language used in tobacco legislation. Burgerville recently elected to post calorie information on their (after the sale) receipts (as a response to new healthcare reform) – rather than post it on the menu board. They elected to follow the letter of the law rather than the spirit which was intended to help consumers make healthier choices.
    What if Philip Morris packaged cigarettes in compostable materials, provided health care to their employees, and used wind power in their production facilities? Would these sustainable acts earn them the right to be considered a progressive socially responsible organization?
    Is Burgerville more progressive than McDonalds? – Yes. But at the end of the day, both organization's core profit is derived from externalizing negative effects upon society.
    “CSR” lies along a spectrum – from insincere PR, to green washing, to distraction techniques, to legitimate integration of strategy and sustainability where profit is no longer acquired at the expense of society.
    I think Burgerville has made some admirable steps in their peripheral activities (recycling). But don't get distracted from the fact that their core profit engine is derived from producing harm to society. (>90% of their profit comes from high fat burgers/fries/shakes – not the low cal offerings on the menu)

    1. Chargerfan – Very interesting comment. I'm reminded of the recent “Buckets for The Cure” campaign put on by KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. KFC was donating 50 cents for every pink bucket of chicken purchase. Then I read an article stating that obesity was one of the leading causes of breast cancer. Wow. So backwards.

  2. I find it an interesting concept. I disagree however. I think it's a cop-out, a failure to accept responsibility for individual choice. Ultimately, these businesses would not exist without human encouragement. The corporation is not ultimately at fault for our incredibly high level of obesity, just like the tobacco industry cannot be at fault for the cancers in a lifelong smoker. People make choices. Often, people make bad choices.

    Do you think that Americans are unaware of the fact that fast food contributes to obesity? Do you think them that ignorant?

    Suppose they, being stupid Americans, ARE that ignorant. Does that ignorance automatically transfer their fault to the industry that sold them their self-destruction? No.

    If a person knew how many calories and how much fat was in a burger before they bought it, what percentage would be dissuaded from the purchase? 5%? 10? Not enough to cause any significant dent in the industry's profit margin. The person is already there, at the restaurant. They already want a burger and fries. If a person looks up at the board and sees 'triple bacon cheddar burger, 972 calories' and thinks “oh, dear, that's a bit high,” they will then merely find the next item down: “there's a double burger with cheese for only 863 calories! excellent, I've made a healthy choice today!” Honestly, I think that kind of self-deception is far more damning.

    If the government legislates much more interference, how far are we from “Big Brother”? The American people are far too quick to seek others to blame for their own poor choices.

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