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Carbon-Negative: U.S. Burger Restaurant Shake Shack Tests Regenerative Cutlery Made From AirCarbon

The New York City-based cult favourite burger restaurant Shake Shack recently announced a pilot of sustainable AirCarbon cutlery and straws at six Shake Shack locations across the U.S. Joining forces with Restore Foodware, the world’s first regenerative foodware brand, Manhattan-based Shake Shack plans to test sustainable AirCarbon utensils across its restaurants in the U.S. as part of the company’s mission to ‘Stand for Something Good’.

Launched in 2020,  Restore Foodware aims to help end the flow of plastic waste into the ocean by replacing it with AirCarbon and the partnership between the two companies led to the development of a biomaterial certified carbon-negative by Carbon Trust and SCS Global Services, which also works to reduce the amount of carbon in the air through production.

AirCarbon has no synthetic plastics, PLA, or synthetic glues, doesn’t need any food crops in the production process, and is also home compostable, soil degradable and ocean-friendly meaning it will decompose naturally if it ends up in the environment.

Pilots of the cutlery will take place at Shake Shack locations in West Hollywood and Long Beach in California, Madison Square Park and West Village in New York and Miami Beach in Florida along with a new location in Santa Monica that will open in spring. The straws and cutlery will also be available across all guest ordering services including walk-up window, drive-up window, curbside pickup, in-Shack pickup shelves as well as delivery.

In a press release seen by Green Queen, senior vice president, supply chain & menu innovation, Jeffrey Amoscato said that Shake Shack aims is committed to elevating the guest experience and taking care of its community since its early beginnings where it helped conserve Madison Square Park in New York City.

“We’re always seeking new, innovative ways to become more sustainable as a business and continue our mission of Standing for Something Good, and that applies to the packaging and ingredients we use and their impact on our planet. By working with change-making products in the industry, like Restore’s AirCarbon cutlery and straws, we will be able to learn and apply more environmentally friendly solutions to our operations now and over time.”
-Jeffrey Amoscato, senior vice president, supply chain & menu innovation of Shake Shack

CEO of biotechnology firm Newlight Technologies, the parent company of Restore Foodware, Mark Herrema added: “Our mission is to help end the flow of plastics into the ocean for this generation by replacing them with materials that work for both people and the planet. We are thrilled to pilot Restore’s AirCarbon foodware with Shake Shack, who share a commitment to combining quality with sustainability so we can help our oceans heal.”

In line with its sustainability commitments, the restaurant will also test aluminium water bottles in an effort to ditch plastic ones at certain West Coast Locations. These new bottles are 100% reusable, 100% recyclable and BPA free with triple filtered 7.4 pH spring water.

In the past, the restaurant chain beloved by millennial diners has carried out several sustainability initiatives across its 310 national locations, as well as at over 120 international locations, including chairs made using sustainable materials and booths developed using lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), recycled paper packaging, a 40% year-on-year plastic reduction and a partnership with 1% for the Planet and Waterkeeper Alliance, which helps cleanup of water sources around the world.

Back in September of last year, Shake Shack launched its first-ever 100% vegan-friendly burger that was available for a limited time at selected branches in London.

Going forward, Shake Shack will continue to look for innovative solutions to incorporate in its packaging program and will continue to work with like-minded partners and vendors for alternative materials that can be used in building design to sourcing food.

In June of last year, two students from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Swapnil Mishra and Aditi Deodhar, won a sustainability prize in an entrepreneurship competition for the duo created a vegan and biodegradable edible alternative for single-use cutlery in order to fight the Hong Kong’s waste crisis.

Several brands have come forward to tackle the plastic crisis, for instance, U.K.-based soft drinks giant Ribena has recently announced that it will be permanently ditching plastic straws and will instead use 100% recyclable paper straws. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) too said that it will achieve 100% plastic waste collection in 2021 meaning that it will collect and process more plastic packaging waste than the company’s own plastic usage.

Back in 2019, in an effort to reduce single-use amenities in bathrooms from all their hotels, Marriott International decided to replace the mini disposable toiletries with large refillable pump bottles.

Even countries are doing their part to reduce plastic waste, with around 127 countries around the world setting up regulations such as China with its recent ban on single-use plastic straws and shopping bags in major cities, Germany banning single-use plastics and Japan implementing a charging scheme to reduce plastic waste.


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