Fred DeLuca, founder of
Subway Sandwiches, thinks Henry Ford was onto something. Back in the 1920s Ford ordered his Model T engines packed in specially made crates that, once unpacked, were taken apart and used as car floorboards.
That anecdote inspired DeLuca to request that all the company's meat supplies arrive in cardboard containers that, once refolded, double as carryout cartons for customers lugging orders. DeLuca has given Ford's idea a '90s twist: emblazoned on each carton's side is Save a Box, Save a Tree. If the customer returns the box to a participating franchisee, a dollar can be taken off the next purchase.
DeLuca admits "green" marketing wasn't his first consideration. "Recycling is noble, but it's hard work, very expensive, and a big pain," he says. "Sure, it's an ecologically minded promotion, but the real kicker is this way it's no extra work, and franchisees save money on boxes and garbage hauling."
-- Elizabeth Conlin