After the deployment of Pret-A-Manger's pioneering front and back-of-house system for composting and recycling. After one year, Global Green undertook a waste characterization to assess the program's success. The findings detail the stream quality and capture rates of the four-stream front-of-house bin system, which includes paper recycling, plastic and aluminum recycling, food scraps, and trash, as well as Pret's back-of-house food donation, recycling, and composting programs.
Participating Pret A Manger Locations Achieve 55% Diversion
The locations assessed are approaching Pret A Manger’s corporate goal of 75% diversion.
The Front-of-House Four-Bin System for Food Waste and Recycling Works Recovered streams achieved 50-73% purity
The front-of-house composting stream, which has seldom been deployed in a quick-service environment, achieved the highest purity of 73%. Combined with the back-of-house food waste stream, which comprises 90% of the food waste achieved over 99% purity, Pret’s full food waste stream was 98% pure, on par with the average for material received at Peninsula Compost, the facility currently receiving Pret’s food waste.
Pret A Manger’s Recyclable Paper Collection Has Quadrupled in One Year
The average per-store volume of paper collected from the front-of-house for recycling has increased from 2.83 pounds per day to approximately 12.35 pounds per day since the last waste sort conducted in March 2011, fourteen months ago. This is a tremendous improvement and an indication that customer and/or employee participation has increased over time.
Composting Paper Towels and Napkins Could Significantly Increase Total Diversion
Paper towels and napkins often contain short fibers that make them unsuitable for recycling, but they are often able to be composted. According to ASTM International Standard D6868, if paper items meet certain criteria for biodegradability, and have additives at less than 1% of weight or that are biodegradable, the item is considered acceptable for industrial composting.
Innovations to Recover Plastic Film Could Increase Diversion
The film comprised 6% of the waste stream by weight, and much of this mass is likely to be food residuals. Further research and innovation is needed in this area to allow for diversion of contaminated film.