Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering guests a free meal on Earth Day if they purchase a recycled lunch bag made from old billboard signs from the chain’s online store. The promotion is designed to celebrate Earth Day, which falls on April 22. The lunch bag, however, must be purchased by April 14 for customers to receive the freebie. A percentage of proceeds from the sale of the bags will go to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which supports sustainable agriculture, family farming and culinary education. Priced at $18, the lunch bags are the result of “upcycling,” the company said. They are made from Chipotle’s outdoor advertisements, which have been transformed into vinyl bags by Billboard Ecology Partners, a Denver-based firm that makes products from billboard advertising that is no longer in use. Chipotle estimates that for every 20,000 lunch bags made from the retired signage, landfills are spared about 78,000 square feet of billboard vinyl, enough to cover 2.7 Olympic swimming pools.
If purchased before April 14, the lunch bags will include a card, made with tree-free limestone paper, with a barcode that customers can redeem for a free burrito, bowl, salad or taco. “We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, said in a statement. “For us, that starts with serving food made with better ingredients from more sustainable sources, but that same idea impacts all facets of our business. “We are always pushing ourselves to find better, more sustainable practices for everything we do, and looking to educate our customers about these issues and why we think they are so important,” he said. Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill had 1,230 units at the beginning of 2012.