McDonald’s is the biggest fast food chain with more than 37,000 restaurants spread all over the world. You can hardly imagine the tremendous amount of garbage they have to deal with every day. Today, only half of the company’s packaging is actually made from sustainable materials, and only 10% of its outlets recycle.
Recently, McDonald’s has announced that all of its packaging will be made from recycled, renewable or sustainable materials by 2025. They also ensure that all of their 37,000 restaurants will be able to respect the same deadline.
Lately, fast-food chains and supermarket have been in the spotlight for wasteful packaging and poor renewable solutions. They are also pressured by customers and politics concerned by the environment. It’s a main problem for our natural world as we know a lot of waste packaging ending in the ocean and forms what scientists call “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.
The McDonald’s decision to remove all non-renewable packaging follows Iceland, one of the major UK retailer, declaration to eliminate plastic packaging of all its own brand products. Moreover, UK’S MPs proposed last month a new tax to cut waste (the “Latte Levy”), a 25p charge on disposable cup. McDonald’s would definitely be one of the companies mostly affected by it.
The news was well received by Environmental NGOs, however some added that “speedier action in some countries, such as the UK is surely possible”.
Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer said: “Our ambition is to use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use, working at and beyond McDonald’s restaurants to increase recycling and composting and help create cleaner communities.”
She added: “Since 2015, we have been installing recycling units which can now be found in over 1,000 of our UK restaurants, enabling our customers to easily separate paper cups from other waste packaging in order for them to be recycled.”
It’s not the first time they have worked on sustainable solutions. Back in 2012, McDonald’s decided to remove deforestation from its beef supply chain and aim to be 85% sustainable by 2020, they also committed to include sustainable coffee, palm oil and fish and hope this year to end foam packaging.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates McDonald’s strong leadership in developing packaging and recycling solutions at a scale that can extend the life of our natural resources and push its industry toward more sustainable practices,” said Sheila Bonini, SVP of private sector engagement at the WWF.