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How Subway® reduced waste and 3 ways you can, too

How Subway® reduced waste and 3 ways you can, too

From fresh produce to kids toys, it seems like everything comes wrapped in paper or plastic these days. If your goal is to cut down on the amount of trash you produce, all that extra packaging can make it tricky.

That's why Subway® has taken aim at single-use packaging and reducing the need for it, according to Michael Fox, Senior Packaging Technologist at Subway. He estimates the changes they've made will reduce waste at Subway restaurants in the U.S. by about 10 million pounds each year.

You can adopt the changes they've made in the U.S. to reducing paper and plastic waste in your own home. Here's how.

1. Skip plastic bags

Subway sandwiches come sealed with a sticker. No bag required.Subway sandwiches come sealed with a sticker. No bag required. (Photo: Subway®)

To cut down on plastic bag waste, Subway recently adopted a bag-optional policy at all U.S. restaurants.

"We introduced a policy that calls for wrapped sandwiches to be secured with a label so that bags are no longer necessary," Fox says. Plastic bags are provided upon request for those taking their sandwich to-go. Dine-in customers will have their sandwich served in a basket. We encourage this in policy wherever possible in our other locations.

If you haven't already joined the reusable shopping bag trend, now is a good time to start! They hold much more than a plastic grocery bag, which means fewer trips to the car as you bring in the groceries. Plus, they'll help you produce less plastic waste.

2. Look for products made with recycled content

Subway cookie bag Subway cookie bags are made with 50 percent recycled content. (Photo: Subway®)

"We use recycled materials wherever possible. Many of our products contain recycled materials," says Fox. Take a look at these eco-friendly Subway stats from the U.S.

Subway eco-friendly stats infographic

About 3.6 million pounds of recycled materials were used to make Subway salad bowls and lids in the U.S. in 2017, according to Fox. That's the equivalent of about 95 million 20-ounce soda bottles!

Using products made with recycled content takes millions of pounds of waste out of landfills, so check the products you buy to see if they (and their packaging) are made with recycled content.

3. Check your paper habits

Subway wrap and wrapper Subway is no longer using paper trays to pre-portion servings in the U.S. and encourages the policy wherever possible in other locations, which will eliminate 5.6 million pounds of waste each year. (Photo: Subway®)

"We are no longer using pre-portioning servings in paper trays, which is estimated to eliminate 5.6 million pounds of single-use packaging in our U.S. restaurants," says Fox.

At home, paper plates and paper towels are super handy. But paper products with soaked-in food remnants can't be recycled. Consider switching to dishes and cloth towels that you can wash and reuse — instead of tossing in the trash.

Top Image Credit: Subway®

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