Tip for Chain
Restaurant Operators


  • Test a new recycling/composting program at a few stores before rolling it out system-wide. Chains with company and franchised stores may want to test at company-owned units first.

Real World Tip:


  • If you’re a franchisee, your franchisor may be able to help with training and training materials.

  • Assign sustainability champions during each shift to engage staff. See additional resources below.

  • Inform staff as early as possible about your efforts. Outline your goals, plans and timeline.

  • Seek input from staff and let them help you build support for the program.

  • Provide regular updates through team meetings, memos or posted announcements.

  • Schedule training sessions for management, employees and custodial staff so everyone understands how the program will work. You’ll want to focus on:

    • Goals of the program.

    • Why recycling and/or composting is important. You can provide examples of items made with recycled materials or a bag of compost to illustrate your point.

    • Procedures that may differ from how you currently do things.

    • Details on what and how to recycle or compost. You may want to go into more detail than you provide on bin signage. Also share this information in other languages.

    • The importance of keeping materials free of contamination ‑ i.e., only recyclables in the recycling bin and only compostables in the composting bin.


Once the program is launched, be sure to:

  • Include training for all new employees.

  • Request feedback from staff regarding contamination or improper handling of materials.

  • Recognize and reinforce proper recycling and composting efforts by staff.

  • Monitor the streams so you don’t over or underestimate the volumes. Make changes to procedures or bins, if needed.

  • Track and share progress updates.








Educate Your Team

Engage your team when implementing your recycling and/or composting program. Here are tips on how to get started:

Resources: Educating Your Staff

For more information on how to educate your staff and assign sustainability champions,  watch this short video where Chris Keotke, Dean of The School of Culinary Arts at Kendall College, describes how a staff "green team" will help you establish and execute environmental best practices in your business.

Toolkit brought to you by FPI's Paper Recovery Alliance (PRA) and Plastics Recovery Group (PRG).

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