In just two years, the world's largest full-service restaurant group has recycled more than 7.3 million pounds of fry oil, the chain announced earlier this month.
The $8 billion a year Orlando, FL-based business with more than 1,900 locations includes some of the nation's top restaurant chains such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille.
According to TriplePundit.com, Darden Restaurants recycled 100 percent of its oil use in 2011—turning the oil into biodiesel fuel, animal foods, even soap.
Recycling and reducing food waste are becoming important considerations for the food industry. TriplePundit reports that on average, Americans throw out more than 4.4 pounds of trash every day, "The Environmental Protection Agency figures that more than half of our national waste – and that’s 136 million tons – ends up in our nation’s landfills. And it ranges from newspapers and food waste to electronics and all of the other things we dispose of every day."
TriplePundit reports that even the nation's largest chain, Wal-Mart, has stepped up the game when it comes to making recycling and sustainable decisions, "in 2011, Walmart diverted more than 268,000 gallons of yellow grease from rotisserie chicken and, of that total, more than 100,000 gallons were recycled into biodiesel fuel."
It wasn't that long ago that recycling, let alone recycling food waste, was a foreign issue for most Americans. But, according to TriplePundit, "As the public continues to become increasingly aware of our major waste issues, locally and globally, many companies are stepping up their waste-reduction efforts. As a result, they are helping our planet and winning approvals from consumers, customers and their employees."
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger