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    Insider | 3 min read

    Top 10 Sustainable Fast Casual Restaurants

    #GoingGreen is one of the biggest food trends out there right now. Here are the top 10 restaurants leading the charge in the fast casual industry!

    1. Just Salad. The brand took a huge step in the right direction by announcing its Green Standard Initiative which aims to send 0 waste to landfills by 2022. This is done through their Reusable Bowl Program, favoring more recycle or compostable packaging, and organic composting. In that year alone, they achieved 133% year-on-year reusable bowl usage and diverted 75,000 lbs of single-use plastics from landfills through their Reusable Bowl Program.

      just salad reusable bowl
    2. Shake Shack. It is highly involved in recycling efforts. Its tables are made from recycled bowling alleys, and it also collects and sorts out all bottles, cardboards and plastics. The brand uses eco-friendly Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified paper and printed with soy ink. In terms of sustainable food sourcing, it uses bacon made from humanely and sustainably raised livestock.
    3. Panera Bread. Panera launched its “Food as it should be” campaign in 2014 to signal the start of its journey to eliminate additives from its menu and serve only clean and sustainable products. For instance, it has pledge to eliminate the use of Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a chemical that can be toxic to humans when used in high concentration, in their baguette bags.
    4. Chipotle. Their brand mission is “Food with integrity”. What more can we say? They only partner with farmers who prioritize the long-term health of the soil and do not use non-therapeutic antibiotics or added hormones in their livestock. Other efforts include the removal of pork items as a supplier did not adhere to animal welfare standards.
      chipotle food with integrity
    5. Rubio’s. It engages in three main types of sustainable efforts - eco-friendly packaging and printing, eco-friendly restaurants and recycling. Rubio’s also chooses seafood that are sourced sustainably and responsibly.
    6. Tender Greens. Sustainability is at the core of all the decisions made at Tender Greens. For starters, all their ingredients are responsibly sourced. But the brand is not only concerned with food sustainability, but also with that of their operations. They use green detergent and cleaners, biodegradable go-to containers, organic cotton uniforms, and potted herbs that doubles as cooking ingredients.
    7. SweetGreen. SweetGreen is big on sustainability. 100% of their stores have compost services and pickup. On average, they divert 60% of their waste from landfills and compost 75% of their food scraps. Every customer-facing item in their restaurants is certified compostable. These include forks, lids, bowls and bags, cups and straws.
    8. Chaia Tacos. Chaia is committed to using organic, locally-sourced ingredients. They serve vegetarian food to reduce meat consumption. All food containers are also compostable.
    9. Little Sesame. They use responsibly sourced ingredients in their dishes and travel the world to learn the best farming practices. They also cut down on the use of to-go container waste by encouraging customers to dine in. This year, they will be providing $5,000 grants to two farms as part of its Little Seedlings program, an annual fellowship program to support farmers who “invest in the future of our planet”.
    10. HipCityVeg.Serving vegan burgers, salads and frozen bowls (made from locally sourced ingredients) in compostable serving packaging, HipCityVeg is 100% committed to its sustainability goals. Apart from that, its furniture are made with salvaged wood and recycled plastic and takeouts are even delivered via bikes.

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