To: Chick-fil-A Cares
Subject: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message
Today I was having lunch at the counter at the original Dwarf House and ordered a side salad. I watched as my server grabbed a pre-packaged salad from the fridge, dumped it on a plate and tossed the plastic container in the garbage. Throughout my short meal, I watched this same action several times and was astonished at the amount of wasted of plastic. It seems like the container, which is never actually presented to a guest, could just as well be made of paperboard or something that won't live as long in a landfill. Those containers are going to survive our great-grandkids!
The styrofoam cups worry me too. Chic-fil-A gives the impression of a premium brand in most ways, but smart, "green" packaging ain't one of them. I just wanted to let you know that your customers care about the environment and don't want any guilt spoiling an otherwise perfect lunch! Thanks!
From: Chick-fil-A CARES
Sent: Aug 1, 2008
Subject: RE: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message
Dear Ms. Palmer:
Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. Our customers are very important to us, and we appreciate their comments, questions and suggestions. The plastic clamshell now used for this Salad protects the product better and keeps it fresher. Please rest assured that your comments regarding this packaging will be forwarded to the appropriate parties within Chick-fil-A.
In addition, we share your concerns regarding the environment. Although customer feedback reveals that the majority of our customers favor the type and style of packaging that we use, we are constantly looking for more economically and more ecologically sound alternatives. Our polystyrene containers (drink cups) have never been produced using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and are, therefore, ozone safe. Foam products are more easily recycled than plastic, coated, or treated paper products.
Unfortunately, there is a misconception that paper food service containers are easily recyclable. In order to be used as food containers, paper must be treated or coated in some way. For instance, most cups are either coated with wax or a polyethylene film. Even though it is possible to recycle paper if the coating or film is removed, it is, for all practical purposes, unrealistic to do that. Biodegradability is another issue of concern. Contrary to popular belief, landfills are not giant compost heaps, where contents rapidly degrade. Research has shown that paper buried in landfills does not biodegrade very quickly. Therefore, there is no advantage in using paper over foam if the issue is biodegradability.
We do appreciate your business and want to please you as well as all our other customers. To the best of our ability, we make our decision on that basis; however, it is sometimes difficult to please everyone with everything we do. Thank you again for your time and interest and look forward to seeing you in one of our local Chick-fil-A restaurants soon.
Chick-fil-A...We Didn't Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
To: Chick-fil-A CARES
Date: Aug 1, 2008
Thanks for your response.
I took the time to write you about my concerns not because I'm a complainer, but because I actually care about Chic-fil-A and see this as a big opportunity for you guys to lead and innovate. Fast food companies that successfully implement eco-friendly packaging are going to be hailed as leaders in quality, design AND ethics... It's going to be a huge win/win for both CFA and for the customers. and for the planet, of course.
I love drinking iced tea in those styrene cups too, but would happily trade them for an alternative that doesn't come with the environmental pricetag... a pricetag that includes production costs and shipping, not just recycling and landfill space.
The problem with your defense of polystyrene as “more easily recyclable" is that there is no clear recycling program in your restaurants. That's part of my original comment... I was "dining in" and was still served with disposables, all of which ended up in the dumpster. Why not serve with the reusable dishes that are already there? Or install bins with signage that makes it easy for both waitstaff and customers to recycle?
Chic-fil-A customers are a loyal bunch, so give us some credit. Rather than mourning the old packaging, we'll celebrate when CFA steps up to this challenge with the same commitment to quality and ethics they show in every other area of business.
East Point, GA