Chipotle Issues New Sustainability Report and Shares Progress on Waste Diversion Goal of 50% by 2020

Chipotle Issues New Sustainability Report and Shares Progress on Waste Diversion Goal of 50% by 2020

Transitioning the definition of trash; turning plastic gloves into plastic bags

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), announced the publication of its 2018 Sustainability Report today, sharing how it’s cultivating a better world with new initiatives and goals for sustainability. Covering everything from animal welfare to local produce, philanthropy to employee benefits, energy reduction and recycling, the company is focused on making a difference and leading the industry with aggressive goals, innovative thinking and transparency.

With a goal of diverting 50% of its restaurant waste from landfills by 2020, Chipotle conducted detailed waste audits to better understand its waste patterns. In doing so, the team learned that 95% of all gloves used in restaurants end up in a landfill.  As there was no known commercial recycling available for the gloves, Chipotle vowed to find a solution. Upon discovering the materials in the gloves were the same as the recycled trash bags used by the brand, Chipotle partnered with Revolution Bag in Salinas, California to start a pilot program turning plastic gloves into trash bags. What started as a pilot in eight restaurants across Portland is now expanding into 17 restaurants in Sacramento.

“If we truly want to be leaders in this space, we cannot just settle for the best available option,” said Caitlin Leibert, Director of Sustainability at Chipotle. “There is no ‘one size fits all solution’ for sustainability. We want to revolutionize the way people think about waste and the potential of everyday items like gloves and trash bags.”

In addition to piloting unique programs to reduce waste like the gloves to bags program, the 2018 Sustainability Report shares Chipotle’s 2018 accomplishments towards global sustainability. Highlights from the report include:

  • A 25% reduction in average restaurant waste since 2016
  • 42% waste diversion from the landfill (with a goal of 50% by 2020)
  • 100% of napkins and paper bags were made with 100% recycled fiber
  • 100% of the paper in cups were Sustainable Forestry Initiative Certified
  • 88% of restaurants had a diversion program (recycling and / or compost for packaging)

By 2020, Chipotle is committing to:

  • Testing a recyclable or compostable cup and lid including a strawless option
  • Reducing the amount of plastic in cutlery by 20%
  • Having a diversion program (recycling and / or compost) at 100% of restaurants

In addition to an overview of efforts in waste reduction, the Sustainability Report covers Chipotle’s environment, people, food and animal goals and accomplishments with compelling stats and unprecedented industry transparency.

“Being transparent with the world holds us accountable for our actions,” said Brian Niccol, Chief Executive Officer at Chipotle. “We want everyone to know exactly what we are doing, from how our food is raised to how it is served. We are doing our part to help limit our impact on the environment and to change the way people think about trash, energy and food.”

To further drive transparency and encourage creative collaboration for sustainable solutions across the restaurant industry, Niccol published an open letter entitled How Chipotle is Tackling the Food Industry’s Hidden Waste Problem. The full letter can be viewed here:

To learn more about sustainability at Chipotle and review the full report, please visit