Subway puts sustainability on the menu

By Nick Hall | 15 Aug 2018 View comments

Inside Franchise Business: SubwayÕs sustainability successFollowing the much-publicised war on waste, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation has released its 2018 Annual Report, which sees Subway, the nation’s largest quick service restaurant chain reaffirm its commitment to innovation and sustainability.

The report revealed that over the period, Subway’s environmental efforts to remove items before they enter the waste stream eliminated 76 tonnes of plastic and almost 300,000 kilograms of paper and cardboard from operations.

Ben Miles, senior corporate social responsibility manager for Subway said the brand would be looking to further its commitment to sustainable practices and minimising waste moving forward.

“We have worked very closely with our team and supplier partners to reduce or remove packaging throughout our network, and we are proud of the work we have achieved – seemingly small changes that, due to our size, result in a large scale environmental impact,” Miles said.

“We serve more than 1.6 million subs in Australia every week so elimination of materials at that kind of scale makes a significant difference.”

Over the reporting period, Subway introduced a range of new sustainability practices designed to minimise waste within the network.

The changes included the removal of single-use plastic bags for recyclable paper bags, replacement of veltone trays by reusable scoops; smaller packaging sized items; and more items per pack.

The reduction of Subway napkin size to 300×300 also saved over 75,000 kilograms of paper from entering the waste-stream, while swapping the 2/3 ‘Sub-Wrap’ saved over 73,000 kilograms of paper throughout the year. ‘Sub-Wrap’ stickers are now mandatory, removing the need for a bag.

The brand’s efforts have seen a strong trickle-down effect, with all facets of the business contributing to the sustainable push and Miles suggests further improvements are being discussed.

“We have a huge opportunity in efficiency of our supply chain and restaurant operations to reduce our impact on the environment. The last year has seen lots of positive changes in the business that have had a large-scale impact, and we’ll continue improving.”

“We’re taking steps to reduce single-use business to business packaging by increasing carton efficiency. We’re focused on increasing the number of items per carton, to reduce cartons used, including increasing napkins this year from 6000 to 6750 per carton saving over 4,600 cardboard cartons. Cutlery pack changes have also reduced cardboard cartons.”

“We’re actively encouraging guests to take steps to recycle responsibly, for example, labelling on our salad bowls encourages active consumer engagement in packaging sustainability”