Restaurant chain Chipotle said it will begin using all-electric cooking equipment at 100 of its new locations in 2024, eschewing traditional gas cooktops.
The announcement was part of a broader set of plans released by Chipotle aimed at reducing its carbon footprint. Where feasible, the new locations will also have solar panels, use biodegradable servicewear such as knives and forks, and feature electric car charging stations.
"With our aggressive development goal in North America, we hold ourselves accountable to reduce the environmental impact of our restaurants," said Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs officer at Chipotle. "We are aiming to incorporate some elements of our responsible restaurant design into many of our new restaurant openings going forward."
Chipotle said it is attempting to cut its greenhouse gas footprint by 50% compared to its 2019 baseline by 2030.
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The decision to rid new Chipotle locations of gas grills comes after a commissioner for the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the federal agency should consider banning gas stovetops in homes.
Eric Lebel, a senior scientist for PSE Health Energy, previously told Scripps News there are two main concerns that gas stoves pose. One is that stoves can emit methane gas, which is a potent greenhouse gas.
“It is both a climate and a health concern,” Lebel said in a January interview. “We know that methane is a strong greenhouse gas. It is 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over a 20-year lifespan. We need to do all we can to reduce methane emissions from all sources. Natural gas is one of the contributors to methane emissions in the U.S. We’re finding it can be leaked from the appliances themselves; it is not just the production of natural gas and the transmission.”
He said the other concern is that stoves can release harmful gases such as nitrogen oxide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, large doses of nitrogen oxide can cause dizziness. Long-term exposure can lead to infertility, the CDC said.
Although it does not appear that the federal government will move on a gas stove ban anytime soon, the city of Berkeley in California implemented a ban in 2019 on new restaurants from installing gas stoves. The ban, however, was stopped by a federal court on Monday after restaurants in California filed a lawsuit.