McDonald’s lays its reputation on the line with “100%” waste pledge

McDonald’s has pledged to completely overhaul the way it manages waste to complete eliminate unrecyclable packaging from its business within the next seven years.

By 2025, the burger chain claims that 100% of its guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled, or certified sources with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council certification.

The company has also set a goal to recycle guest packaging in all of its McDonald’s restaurants. It said that it understands that recycling infrastructure, regulations and consumer behaviours vary city to city and country to country around the world, but it “plans to be part of the solution and help influence powerful change”.

This expands upon McDonald’s existing goal that by 2020 all fibre-based packaging will come from recycled or certified sources where no deforestation occurs.

“As the world’s largest restaurant company, we have a responsibility to use our scale for good to make changes that will have a meaningful impact across the globe,” said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer.

“Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address. Our ambition is to make changes our customers want and to use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use, working at and beyond our restaurants to increase recycling and help create cleaner communities.”

To reach these goals, McDonald’s claims it will work with leading industry experts, local governments and environmental associations, to improve packaging and recycling practices.

McDonald’s first began its focus on sustainable packaging nearly 25 years ago with the establishment of the groundbreaking partnership with EDF. The initiative eliminated more than 300 million pounds of packaging, recycled one million tons of corrugated boxes and reduced waste by 30% in the decade following the partnership.

Currently, 50% of McDonald’s customer packaging comes from renewable, recycled or certified sources and 64% of fibere-based packaging comes from certified or recycled sources. Also, an estimated 10% of McDonald’s restaurants globally are recycling customer packaging.

“We look forward to doing more and continuing to raise the bar on what it means to be a responsible company committed to people and the planet,” DeBiase said.

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