McDonald’s to cut plastics use

McDonald’s is to remove or minimise its plastics packaging across Europe. The company will remove McFlurry lids in the region and introduce a new fibre-based lid across all cold drinks in France.

McDonald’s also plans to conduct trials across its markets for alternatives to the plastics McFlurry spoon, a redesigned paper straw and toy take-back programmes.

Plastics account for 12 per cent of McDonald’s packaging in Europe. According to the company, more than 1,200 tonnes of plastics per year will be saved via the McFlurry packaging makeover, which removes the need for a separate plastics lid. This change will be fully implemented across Europe by the end of 2020.

In addition, around 1,200 tonnes of plastics will be saved each year thanks to the introduction of the fibre lid for all cold drinks in France. The lids are made from 100 per cent certified sustainable sources and recyclable materials.

McDonald’s is also working on making its packaging easier to recycle and reuse. By 2025, the company hopes to recycle guest packaging in 100 per cent of its restaurants around the world.

Other recycling initiatives include a pilot programme in Germany called ReCup where customers can ask for a reusable coffee cup and then return it at partnering McDonald’s restaurants or other participating restaurants to be cleaned and reused.

Meanwhile, customers in Ukraine can eat the cup they receive their sundae in as it is made of waffle and, in the UK, customers can return used Happy Meal toys to a select number of restaurants so that they can be recycled.

“We’re finding new and innovative ways to reduce our use of packaging, switch to more sustainable materials and help our customers to reuse and recycle,” said Keith Kenny, vice president of global sustainability at McDonald’s.

The initiatives are part of the fast-food company’s global ‘Better M’ platform – which aims to implement environmentally friendly strategies across its packaging and recycling supply chain.

McDonald’s operates 38,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries serving 69 million people each day.