Dining

Building a Green Burrito

When Chipotle Mexican Grill announced in January that it would serve 200 million meals made with naturally raised meat this year, it got us thinking. Given all the choices of fillings (there are approximately 65,000 Chipotle flavor combinations), we wondered what would comprise the greenest burrito? Here, a look at a sustainable lunch.

August 2008

Cilantro-lime rice
Domestic rice, which means a smaller carbon footprint since it's not flown across an ocean before being trucked to locations.

Black and pinto beans
Thirty percent of Chipotle's black and pinto beans are organically grown, translating into pesticide-free, environmentally friendly farming practices. The company hopes to continuously up that percentage as more supply becomes available.

Carnitas
Chipotle only serves pork from ranchers committed to raising hogs naturally and humanely. That means no added hormones or antibiotics and a vegetarian diet. This, in turn, translates to fewer environmental issues such as groundwater contamination from waste. Note: The company's chicken and 50 percent of its steak are also naturally raised.

Guacamole
During the summer, all of Chipotle's avocados come from California; when that season ends the company sources from Mexico, and later in the year Chile. To reduce your carbon footprint, forgo the guac in the cooler months.

Chipotle Tidbits
Eight more ways the local Mexican restaurant makes good.

Burrito bowls are made out of 99 percent recycled newspaper and cartons.

Basket liners are made of unbleached paper.

Napkins are made of 90 percent recycled materials.

Peppers and onions for fajitas are sliced fresh every day, rice is made every hour (sometimes twice an hour), and salad dressing is made twice a day—all to keep ingredients fresh and limit waste.

There are no freezers on site, only one small walk-in for keeping cheese, veggies, cilantro, and sour cream cool.

Chipotle's frying oil is trans-fat free.

The company only serves real sour cream—as in no gums, stabilizers, or rBGH.

Chipotle's mozzarella and white cheddar contain no dyes or artificial flavors—and the cheeses are grated fresh daily.