Chick-fil-A’s new chicken sandwich shouldn’t come with a side of plastic waste

Last year, Chick-fil-A served 2.1 billion customers. That’s a lot of chicken sandwiches -- and a lot of plastic waste.

A person throwing away a polystyrene foam cup and straw into an orange bin
Julio Lopez |

Our country is the world’s largest polluter of plastic. Each year, we throw away 42 million metric tons of plastic waste. A lot of that plastic waste comes from things we only use once before throwing away, like the plastic packaging in your fast food order.

All that plastic has to go somewhere — and in the U.S., it’s most likely going to the landfill. Of all the plastic ever made, only 9% has been recycled. A little more than that has been incinerated. But the vast majority of it has been sent to landfills, where it’ll sit for hundreds of years.

This single-use mentality is a big reason why we’ve found ourselves in the midst of a global plastic pollution crisis — but fortunately, it’s one we can change. And that starts with the businesses that hand out single-use plastics to millions of people, day in and day out.

Chick-fil-A is no small-time operation. It’s now the third-largest fast food chain in the country by sales. From plastic food containers to those iconic red-and-white foam cups, Chick-fil-A’s continued use of wasteful plastic packaging is contributing to our growing plastic crisis. And it’s already indicated that it knows it needs to change.

The company has agreed to replace its iconic red-and-white plastic foam cup with a paper alternative — but only in select locations. And some states have already banned polystyrene foam cups (is your state one of them?).

Chick-fil-A can do more. By committing to phasing out all plastic packaging in its stores in every state, the company can reduce the amount of plastic waste headed to landfills and pave the way for other fast food chains to follow suit.

Add your name to our petition calling on this fast food leader to do more to reduce plastic packaging.