Case Study - Better Burger
These trail blazers simply do it better. We are more than stoked to walk alongside the legends at Better Burger and do our bit to help their business towards zero waste. Every single packaging item at Better Burger is compostable and so they only need the one bin, an industry first and a huge win for our planet. The man himself, Josh Harre shares his thoughts below, take notes folks; “the more people do better, the more people will be able to do better!”
Hey Josh, let’s start with what your role is at Better Burger?
I am the Operations Manager and came on board as part of the vision to grow one store into an empire.
What inspired you to start Better Burger and when did you first become interested in looking at compostable options?
Traditionally, fast food and hospitality in general, has always been an all consuming, resource heavy industry. When we set out to develop upon the initial Better Burger concept, we wanted to do better in every way; from how we look after our people, to using fresher ingredients and doing better for the environment. We had a vision to run, not only a financially sustainable business, but one that helped sustain the environment, and was better for the community, what we quickly discovered was the two go hand in hand. As a byproduct of our initial moves, we developed upon the idea that we could become an agitator in an established market with rock-like multi-national competitors who were set in their ways when it came to looking after the environment and doing their bit (or not, as it were).
Why did you partner with us?
We set out to find suppliers who could support this mission. We found a produce supplier who could deliver fresh daily and we streamlined our supply chain through less suppliers, this gets trucks off the road. Our cooking oil suppliers use tanks instead of single use cardboard boxes with plastic liners and so on. Basically, we engaged with people who shared our passionate vision for our business and more importantly the Earth.
Using traditional cardboard and plastic packaging was always going to be the biggest contributor to waste so we partnered with decent and now use only 100% compostable packaging range to help us do better. The fact that no one else in the QSR market was doing it was not good enough for us and decent Packaging agreed, helping us turn our lofty ambitions and crazy packaging needs into a reality.
What do you think are some of the key challenges for businesses wanting to use compostable packaging?
The less people that do it, the less people will do it - basic supply and demand, however for us this was not a good enough reason not to. Maintaining the status quo is always the easy (and generally most cost effective option). Initially, for us, the challenge was finding a waste management company who would support our sites across all locations, particularly in situations where you share waste facilities with multiple retailers. In these situations we managed to find work-arounds, again it was not the simple option but change has to start somewhere. We are finding over a short period of time that the use of compostable packaging is normalising, aiding greatly in quantity and quality of collection partners and facilities.
What challenges do you see around education of different kinds of compostable waste and waste streams in general?
The constant challenge we face now is customer perception, specifically around our straws and lids. The media attention given to substituting plastic straws for paper straws in particular has really resonated with people. This is great but as a consequence, even the most informed people, often see our compostable straws as "plastic". We choose to see this as an opportunity to educate and spread our message. The ability to compost in our stores with dedicated bins and the addition of compostable water bottles has added to this education cycle.
What are you most excited about this year?
Education through application and leading the way when it comes to sustainability in a stringent, resource heavy industry (even just to agitate and get the conversation started). The more people do better, the more people will be able to do better!