Popular salad chain considering biodegradable bowls, composting programs

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In New York, salad bar mainstay Just Salad is expanding its sustainability efforts, including naming a new Chief Sustainability Offer and plans to switch to biodegradable bowls.

Janani Lee, newly promoted to CSO from her previous supply chain director role, tells Forbes the company is looking to transition from disposable plastic bowls to biodegradable fiber bowls. “Right now, we’re looking for an alternative that’s biodegradable. But we want to make sure we’re doing it the right way. We know it’s a focus and it’s really exciting, but we still have a lot of investigating to do,” she adds. The company is also working with Bard University on a composting program.

Lee also aims to increase its reusable bowl program—in which patrons receive free toppings—by 25,000 lbs of plastic to 100,000 lbs. About 20% of Just Salad’ customers are part of the program.

“We’re determined to become the gold standard of sustainability in the restaurant space and beyond,” Lee adds. “It might mean a little more investing upfront, but we know there is a return later. One a wide-scale level, there’s no business at all if we destroy the environment. We’re just trying to do our part on a micro level.”