McDonald’s flurry of new recycling plans

21 November 2019 by Grace Coleman
blog author

McDonald’s has announced plans to improve recyclability and minimise plastic in a programme it is rolling out across Europe.

The fast food chain has pledged to remove lids from its McFlurry desserts across every European country it operates in by the end of 2020, which will save more than 1,200 tonnes of plastic.

It will also hold trials for alternative solutions to the plastic McFlurry spoon (such as wooden or paper spoons), redesign its paper straw and - from this week - has implemented a Happy Meal plastic toy take-back program in the UK. The chain will also rollout a new fibre-based lid for its cold drinks in France.

The plans support McDonald’s global ‘Better M’ platform, which was launched to implement environmentally friendly changes across the company’s sustainable packaging and recycling supply chain.

The trials will be launched in existing restaurants across Europe, with selected restaurants testing the introduction of innovative packaging concepts to consumers.

To date, 78 per cent of McDonald’s packaging used by its restaurants worldwide is made from fibre, which increases to around 88 per cent for its European markets.

In the UK, 90 per cent of McDonald’s restaurants are already providing recycling for consumer packaging, swiftly followed by Germany at 89 per cent. Long term, the firm aims to recycle packaging in 100 per cent of its restaurants around the world by 2025, as part of its global Scale for Good commitments which it launched last year – it is approximately 60
per cent of the way towards reaching this global target. 

Keith Kenny, vice president of global sustainability at McDonald’s, said “We care about lessening our impact on the environment and know our customers do too. That’s why 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, too.

“The trials we are conducting across Europe are vital in helping us get first-hand feedback from customers on solutions that help them to be conscious consumers, without compromising on quality and the McDonald’s experience they love. Better M is a powerful platform to allow us to work with our customers and choose the right solutions to scale up across Europe.”