MILFORD, Conn., Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The SUBWAY(R) restaurant chain has made a commitment to make its restaurants and operations more environmentally friendly. In collaboration with the US Green Building Council, the first SUBWAY(R) Eco-Store in Kissimmee, Florida, will open on November 5. Elements of the Eco-Store include high efficiency HVAC systems, remote condensing units for refrigeration and ice making equipment, day lighting and controls for high efficiency lighting, LED interior and exterior signs, low flow water fixtures, and building and d�cor materials from sustainable sources. There was also an extensive use of recycles products and furnishings in the construction of the restaurant and an increased emphasis on recycling in customer areas. Another step the brand has taken is in a number of packaging initiatives, including one that now sees the SUBWAY(R) brand using paper napkins that are made from 100 percent recycled materials -- of which 60 percent are post consumer recyclables. "We have made a commitment as a brand to become even more environmentally accountable," said Bill Schettini, Chief Marketing Officer for the SUBWAY(R) chain. "With more locations in the United States than any other restaurant chain, and more than 28,000 worldwide, we are in a position to make a significant and positive global impact on the environment and the world around us." The initiative is also realizing a cost savings for its thousands of franchisees. Working in partnership with the franchisee-controlled Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC), which sources product and negotiates contracts for SUBWAY(R) franchisees, brand representatives are reviewing everything from materials used in disposable gloves to locations of product distribution centers. There are many product packaging and distribution initiatives in the works. Other steps the SUBWAY(R) brand has taken include: * Distribution: Efforts were made to strategically relocate several redistribution centers next to vendor manufacturing facilities, eliminating the need to transport product from long distances. In all, the move saves an estimated 1,660,079 gallons of gas per year and eliminates 10,491 truck loads annually. The brand has also undertaken an Operational Efficiency program and has a Transportation Management Center plan in the works, which ensures all routes are optimized and all trucks are full, which saves money on freight costs and emits less green house gasses. "We have made a significant impact by just focusing on a few key areas of the supply chain and we will continue to seek opportunities to make a positive impact," said Jan Risi, President and CEO of the brand's Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC). "What is most exciting is that we have been able to remain true to our mission of saving franchisees money without compromising quality. It feels good to be involved with a brand that wants to do the right thing, not only for it's customers but for the environment." * Packaging: Along with making napkins with 100 percent recycled materials -- of which 60 percent is post consumer recyclable, saving an estimated 147,000 trees annually -- the brand has also: switched the materials used for the manufacturing of its cutlery and 32 ounce plastic drinking cups from polystyrene to polypropylene. The change resulted in an annual resin savings of more than 610,000 pounds and saves an equivalent of 13,000 barrels of oil. Other areas of packaging improvements have been made in deli paper cartons, salad packaging and catering trays, specialty sandwich bags, 4-cup carriers and lunch box, and the reduction of sandwich wrap wax. * Corporate Social Responsibility: The brand enhanced the Code of Conduct it requires its vendors to follow to ensure they are in compliance with fair labor and other practices. Vendors must conduct Social Accountability self audits; uniform vendors must be WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Apparel Producers) Certified; and enhanced our Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audits for produce food safety. For the last 10 years, the SUBWAY(R) brand has been proud to be the leader in providing healthier alternatives to traditionally fatty fast foods and in 2007 removed what little trans fats it had from its core menu. The SUBWAY(R) chain is a proud sponsor of the American Heart Association American Heart Walks, Jump Rope for Heart and START! Walking at Work programs. In March 2007, the brand launched its FRESH Fit meal, which includes a six-inch submarine sandwich with 6 grams of fat or less and "better for you sides," such as sliced apples, raisins, yogurt, baked chips, bottled water, low-fat milk and diet soda. FRESH Fit are on-the-go meals that compliment living a busy and active lifestyle, they were developed to fit into the American Heart Association's approach to a healthy lifestyle. The brand is also at the forefront of providing nutritional information to consumers to help them make better choices. * Eco-Store: along with the restaurant that opened in Kissimmee, FL, there are many more in various stages of planning. The brand is working with the U.S. Green Building Council to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the Eco-Stores. The opening of the Eco-Store in Kissimmee also provides an opportunity to measure energy and water saving concepts against a standard SUBWAY(R) restaurant opening nearby. The SUBWAY(R) restaurant chain is the world's largest submarine sandwich franchise, with more than 28,000 locations in 85 countries. Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, and with regional offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Brisbane, Miami, and Singapore, the SUBWAY(R) chain was co-founded by Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck in 1965. The SUBWAY(R) brand was ranked the number one franchise opportunity in Entrepreneur magazine's 2007 "Annual Franchise 500" listing. This marks the 15th time in 20 years that the chain has achieved this honor. For more information about the SUBWAY(R) chain, visit www.subway.com. SUBWAY(R) is a registered trademark of Doctor's Associates Inc.