Sustainable Promotional Merchandise and Packaging

Did you know fast food leader A&W uses biodegradable packaging?

Yep, you read that right. A&W has taken the lead promoting sustainability in the fast food industry with its eco-friendly packaging program.

Disposable packaging is what makes ordering fast food so convenient — one can simply grab a meal and toss the excess waste. No dishes! Right? However, the extra packaging required for this process has had an incredible negative impact on the environment that we are no longer in a position to deny.

In 2016, A&W became the first restaurant chain to join the National Zero Waste Council (NZWC). The council’s primary goal is the  achievement of zero waste. One of A&W’s contributions to this common objective was to drastically change the way they package their food.


A&W restaurant


The fast food giant has taken continuous steps toward achieving the zero waste goal of the council. These include: less packaging overall, better packaging alternatives, and serving in reusable containers wherever possible.


Less Packaging Overall

A&W recently introduced a new coffee cup sleeve that uses 20% less material than its predecessor. The introduction of the smaller sleeve has had a domino effect; the company has reduced its annual shipments by 28 pallets, resulting in a smaller carbon footprint. What’s more, the sleeves are comprised of recycled materials and are entirely compostable!


Better Packaging Alternatives

A&W has upgraded most of its takeout packaging; foil burger bags and other paperboard items have all been replaced with compostable or recyclable alternatives. This has eliminated nearly 170,000 kilograms of waste. The new burger bags require less carbon to produce, which has decreased A&W’s greenhouse gas emissions by about 5,000 tonnes. How cool!


Reusing Containers

At A&W, reusable packaging is making a comeback. All in-house orders are served on ceramics and come with stainless steel cutlery. Gone are the days of paper plates and plastic forks. Now you can expect to have your breakfast served on a ceramic plate, complete with stainless steel cutlery. This simple swap helps to keep 121,000 kilograms of waste out of landfills each year.


A&W root beer


A&W continues to pledge its commitment to a greener fast food industry. Beyond their eco-friendly packaging program, the company is also striving to reduce its energy consumption. Earlier this year, the company received industry-wide recognition for its efforts with the FortisBC Efficiency in Action Awards for the food service category.

Follow A&W’s lead and learn how your restaurant can reduce waste and packaging. The green team at Deluxe is here on the ready. Shoot us an email at and we’ll get you started on the path to sustainability.