Just weeks after food service workers at O’Hare Airport released “Putting Sustainability on the Table: Airport Workers’ Vision for $3 Billion of Food and Drink at O’Hare”—a report in which they made recommendations to the City of Chicago on sustainable food concessions at the country’s second-busiest airport—the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has announced a new Green Concessions Policy.
The Green Concessions Policy advances the CDA’s sustainability program by requiring concessionaires to focus on the use of renewable resources in consumer packaging, disposable utensils, cleaning products, trash bags, and food. It also includes requirements around recycling and donating surplus food—two sustainable practices highlighted by workers in their recommendations to the City. The Green Concessions Policy is an exciting step towards sustainable food practices at the airport and workers are encouraged by the CDA’s demonstrated commitment to these issues.
Chris Williams, a server at Wicker Park Sushi said, “I think policies like requiring sustainable foods and donating surplus food items to local charities will help a lot of people. It’s also good to see the city listening to the people who really drive the airport, the people who work there.”
As the City of Chicago and CDA prepare to set guidelines for companies interested in providing food service at O’Hare Airport, workers are calling on the City to ensure that those guidelines include sustainable food practices by way of scratch-cooking concepts; healthy, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options; locally grown produce; eco-friendly waste disposal methods; food donation; and job stability and training opportunities for current food service workers.
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