Subway sandwich franchise makes efforts to reduce environmental impact

The Wall Street Journal’s small business section writes that Subway is testing out ways to reduce its environmental impact.

Subway is testing the new initiatives at a so-called “eco-store” it opened this month in Kissimmee, Fla. In addition to recycling bins, the restaurant was constructed using some recycled materials, and it uses more efficient heating and cooling systems, has plumbing systems that conserve water and uses high-efficiency lighting. Subway worked with the U.S. Green Building Council to develop the store and is planning to build others like it.

Nationally, the company has switched to napkins that use 100% recycled materials, of which 60% is post-consumer recyclable material. Recycled material can include material such as wood chips, while post-consumer recycled material is paper that has already been used by consumers. Subway estimates it will save about 147,000 trees a year. The company also switched to cutlery and plastic drinking cups made of polypropylene instead of polystyrene, which it estimates will save 13,000 barrels of oil annually because it no longer needs to use as much of that material. The chain also will save gasoline after it reconfigured a facility in Utah that keeps it from having to slice deli meat in Iowa and send it to Colorado for distribution.

The waste bin at the Kissimmee store is divided into three baskets for paper, plastic and trash. Only the plastic waste is actually recycled. The chain hasn’t figured out how to recycle the paper material that has food waste on it. The company said it is dividing out that material to raise awareness about recycling. The plastic waste that is recycled in the Florida store includes plastic bottles, straws, straw wrappers, drink lids, cutlery and salad bowls. If the plastic recycling is successful in this location, Subway plans to put it in more of its restaurants.

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