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National Restaurant Association - New research shows majority of restaurant operators have recycling programs

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New research shows majority of restaurant operators have recycling programs

Roughly two-thirds of the nation’s restaurateurs have recycling programs as part of their sustainability efforts, according to a new study conducted by the National Restaurant Association in partnership with Georgia-Pacific Professional

The research, released at NRA Show 2011 on Saturday, also shows that three out of five consumers prefer to visit restaurants that have recycling practices in place. The study provides a comprehensive overview of restaurant recycling practices that will help restaurant operators meet consumer needs, enhance their environmental programs, and be more profitable.

Highlights of the restaurant recycling study include:

• Sixty-five percent of restaurateurs currently have a recycling program in place, and 13 percent participate in composting programs.

• Seventy-four percent of restaurateurs who recycle do so in the kitchen and office areas, while 43 percent have a program in the dining room and other customer-facing areas.

• Nearly three out of four (72 percent) restaurant operators use products made from recycled materials; the most common of these items were bags, paper products and food containers.

• Sixty percent of consumers say they prefer to visit a restaurant that recycles.

• A strong majority of consumers (85 percent) say they sort recyclables in quickservice restaurants if receptacles are provided.

• About half of consumers (51 percent) say they are willing to pay a little more for menu items at a restaurant that recycles.

The research supports the development of best practices for restaurant operators by the National Restaurant Association through its Conserve: Solutions for Sustainability initiative (http://conserve.restaurant.org). The Conserve website provides free tips, tools and resources for restaurant operators to continue to develop their environmental sustainability programs, including waste reduction and recycling.

The full recycling research report can be downloaded at www.restaurantsrecycle.com.

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