Dig — formerly known as Dig Inn — may be known for its hearty, vegetable-centric bowls, but the New York City-based fast-casual chain is also leading the way in environmental sustainability, thanks to the strong direction of senior director environmental health, Elizabeth Meltz.
From creating a systemwide composting program for the 33-unit lunch chain, to introducing reusable containers for an opt-in closed-loop environmental system, over the past year, Meltz has turned Dig into an industry leader for environmental sustainability.
Both the composting program and the closed-loop bowl “renting” system — which is called Canteen and costs $3 per month — are part of Dig’s zero-waste initiative, a long-term goal for the brand. Guests can then drop off their Canteen bowls at participating Dig locations. Additionally, Meltz said that she and her team are working to be PFA-free by the end of 2020. (PFAs, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are “forever chemicals” often found in compostable containers).
“Our mission is to create a better food system and you can’t do that without acknowledging the need for a zero-waste future, protecting the public health and to do that with a certain amount of transparency,” Meltz said.
In the future, Meltz said that they are looking to expand their Canteen program beyond its current two locations, and to introduce it to other restaurants.
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