Baja Fresh, the fast-casual fresh Mexican chain, has announced the nationwide rollout of its industry pioneering Earth Fresh Initiative. In December 2009, Baja Fresh began testing a number of environmentally friendly serving products including: Recycled/Recyclable Paper & Plastic Bags, Unbleached Recyclable Burrito Wrapping Paper, and Biodegradable Plates. After receiving positive feedback from both guests and operators, the chain moved forward with companywide implementation of the products which are in the restaurants.
Understanding the current environmental climate and consumers’ desire to preserve resources, Baja Fresh president Charles Rink confirmed “the chain is taking a proactive approach as many guests have told us about their desire and priority of recycling and preservation of natural resources, while recognizing the importance of maintaining the integrity and quality of the products in which we serve our food. These new products are an excellent way to accomplish this goal in tandem with helping the environment.”
Baja Fresh now only uses burrito wraps that are unbleached and made from 100% recycled materials. Utilizing unbleached burrito wraps versus bleached paper wraps have significant impact on the world’s resources including; a 46% reduction in waste water, 21% reduction in wood pulp use, 16% reduction in solid waste, and a 10% reduction in green house gas production. For every 1,000 tons of natural paper produced versus bleached paper of the same weight 6,089 trees will be saved, 15 full swimming pools of waste water will be removed, and 13 garbage trucks of solid waste will be eliminated.
Additionally, Baja Fresh paper bags are now unbleached and contain a minimum of 70% postconsumer material. The company’s plastic to-go bags are also earth friendly as each bag is made with at least 50% recycled materials. Both the paper and plastic bags are 100% recyclable and only water based ink is utilized to print on the plastic bags, which in turn lowers their carbon footprint.
The new plates are designed to disintegrate and biodegrade swiftly and safely in a professionally managed composting facility. The plates are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI identifies products that meet stringent scientifically based specifications for compostability) and the natural fibers with which they are produced are a byproduct of wheat harvest. This type of renewable resource is an excellent alternative to polystyrene foam and conventional molded fiber.
In response to the company’s strides to be more environmentally conscious, Baja Fresh President Charles Rink stated, “Baja Fresh recognizes the importance of the earth’s resources and our customers’ penchant to conserve them. By offering our products in biodegradable, recycled, and recyclable packaging, not only are we meeting the requests of our guests, but also those of the environment. We will continue to seek environmentally friendly solutions for additional products used in serving Baja Fresh menu items, and we look forward to the success of these and all of our future earth friendly serving products in our restaurants.”