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American chain Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced plans to prevent half of all its restaurants’ food waste from entering landfills by 2020.

Chipotle has been introducing measures to reduce the amount of food and packaging that is disposed of in landfills for over three years. It increased its landfill diversion rate from 31% to 40% in 2017 and is set on meeting its new goal of 50%.

Chipotle head of sustainability Caitlin Leibert said: “Increasing our waste diversion rate to 50% is an ambitious goal, but we feel it’s important to be assertive in our efforts to advance our purpose.

“We remain deeply dedicated to bringing guests great tasting food while upholding Chipotle’s values and commitment to food made with respect for the land and environment.”

Chipotle and its partners are using several practices to meet the diversion rate target. The restaurant company is providing programmes such as Chipotle’s Mindful Prep initiative to train restaurant staff to reduce the amount of food waste during the preparation of a meal. It is also implementing in-restaurant recycling and composting of food packaging, which is a part of Chipotle’s aim for all of its restaurants to recycle by 2020.

The chain adjusts services and food preparation to the number of sales per restaurant to lessen the amount of food that is wasted at the end of each day and uses existing data to predict and control its waste diversion rate. The restaurant company has replaced plastic wrap with reusable lids.

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By GlobalData

Chipotle plans for 80% of its restaurants to participate in the Harvest Programme, whereby leftover food is donated to local community organisations, and is committed to having composting facilities in 20% of its restaurants within two years.

RiverRoad Waste Solutions, a partner of Chipotle’s environmental sustainability plan, works with half of the chain’s restaurants to apply waste diversion programmes.

RiverRoad Waste Solutions CEO Kris Bunnell said: “Chipotle is never satisfied when it comes to minimising its environmental impact. The company is always looking for new ways to go above and beyond to do what is best for their guests, the community and the environment.”

Waste that could otherwise have been recycled or composted but is instead disposed of in landfills can emit greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.