We know that when packaging isn’t recovered correctly, it’s a problem for the planet, creating pollution and damaging ecosystems.
This environment day, McDonald’s global has planned to source all its packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources.
“Our goal is to source 100% of our guest packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources, and recycle guest packaging in 100% of McDonald’s restaurants by 2025. We understand that recycling infrastructure varies from city to city and country to country, but we plan to be part of the solution and help influence powerful change,” shared the release.
Today most of the brands global packaging weight comes from fiber materials (78%), with the remaining 22% comprised of plastics. And while some plastic packaging is necessary to keep food fresh and safe, McDonald’s wants to be part of the solution and use our scale to accelerate a “circular economy”.
To achieve this, their packaging and recycling strategy encompasses a wide range of initiatives to reduce their use of packaging, switch to more sustainable materials and help their customers to recycle. “We’re also working to close the loop by using more recycled materials in our packaging, restaurants, and facilities, and helping to drive global demand for recycled content (Learn about our packaging and recycling strategies in detail.),” it added.
The burger chain is also eliminating packaging that’s hard to recycle. They are also giving McFlurry ice-cream packaging a makeover, eliminating the need for a separate plastic lid. This change is in place in Australia, some markets in Asia, and will be implemented across Europe by the end of 2020.
In France and some restaurants in Canada, the brand has introduced an innovative new fiber lid for cold drinks. The new fiber lids replacing the plastic lid are made from 100% certified sustainable sources and recyclable materials.
“McDonald’s is a founding member of the NextGen Consortium and supporting the Next Gen Cup Challenge in the US, a project to find a fiber-to-go cup which is recoverable and to test reusable cup systems,” shared the statement.
Also, in Germany, it is piloting a program called ReCup, where customers can ask for a reusable coffee cup and return it at partnering restaurants to be cleaned and reused.
“We’re testing coffee cup recycling schemes to find the best ways to scale up recycling and provide quality recycled material which can be reused in new packaging. In the UK, our paper cups are sent to specialist recycling centers to make different recycled products, such as park benches, from the fiber and plastic lining,” it further added.
Alternatively, the burger chain is trying out paper straws in place of plastic straws, and rolling out a more durable paper straw design in Europe. They are also offering straws upon request in several markets to cut down material use and drive behavior change.
McDonald’s is also finding a more sustainable solution for plastic cutlery globally and currently testing alternatives in several markets, such as wooden cutlery in Australia.
In Germany, they opened the Better McDonald’s Store - a nearly plastic-free restaurant in Berlin for 10 days – to collect feedback from customers on different solutions.