KFC Uses Reusable, Recyclable Containers
The new reusable container has already been introduced in about 60 percent of KFC stores and will be available nationwide by early 2011.
Despite just launching, the new KFC sides container made of polypropylene has already won a Greener Package Award in the food and pharmaceutical packaging category along with Coca-Cola's plant-based bottle.
The new sides container is microwaveable, "top rack dishwasher safe," and they are green in the sense that they requires 25 percent less energy to produce and generates half the amount of greenhouse gases, as compared to the general-purpose polystyrene foam container it is replacing. KFC created this container with the expectation that consumers will reuse and eventually recycle the package.
It's a great concept that, at first, appears to be a commendable green practice, but upon closer scrutiny, it doesn't hold up very well.
Highly-processed and deep-fried unhealthy fare aside, the new containers will only be used for sidedishes. What about the other food items?
Besides, with the rising concern about BPA and phthalates from plastics, is the change really a change for the better?
Moreover, of the demographic who frequent fast food places, are they able and willing to reuse and recycle? Reusing means bringing the containers home and washing them after the meal is consumed, as opposed to the convenience of throwing everything away after a "fast" food meal which most people buy because it is convenient; recycling means sorting the trash and, in some cities, paying a recycling company to pick up the recycling bin each week. Is KFC making a valid assumption when it assumes that consumers will reuse and recycle?
In a few years, after the reusable containers have been tested in real market conditions, it will be interesting to see if anyone will report on the difference it makes, whether the difference is positive or negative, or somewhere in the middle.