Where We Stand

In 2020, we completed an in-depth waste characterization study to help us better understand what gets thrown away in our restaurants and what can be recycled. This allows us to identify areas where we can get better so we can continue to optimize waste diversion.

where we stand

minimize waste mobile piechart

Knowing what is in our trash is only the beginning, as our efforts are also dependent on available recycling infrastructure in the communities we serve. We continue to track and monitor recycling rates across our restaurants and optimize waste diversion and recycling in markets where infrastructure exists.

Recycling rate of 32%

100% of our restaurants recycle used cooking oil

More than 80% of restaurants with recycling programs

Recycling Breakdown

Minimizing Food Waste Through Our Harvest Program

Food waste is the single largest component of our waste stream. In addition to improving our forecasting efforts to minimize food loss, we reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills through our Harvest food donation program. Each day, every one of our restaurants collects wholesome, surplus food that was not served to guests and prepares it for weekly donation to local nonprofit organizations. This allows us to maximize usage of excess food and make an impact in the fight against hunger — rather than dispose of it. Since the program’s inception in 2003, we have donated more than 120 million pounds of food through Harvest — which is equivalent to more than 100 million meals for those who need it most.

Harvest Donations Over Time

(Total pounds of food)

What We Donate

Tackling Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans

Tackling Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans

One the most predominant sources of plastic pollution in our oceans is ghost gear – abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear that threatens marine life. To support the long-term health of marine ecosystems and protect sea life for future generations, Darden partners with Ocean Conversancy on the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) – an alliance of organizations dedicated to solving the problem of ghost gear on a global scale. As part of GGGI, we contribute to projects that remove ghost gear and help fund research and implementation of best practices. Most recently, we supported development of the Best Practices Framework for the Management of Aquaculture, which establishes principles for responsible seafood production without leaving ghost gear behind.