McDonald’s has detailed the results of a recent trial which saw the fast food giant undergo a plastic-free experiment in Berlin, Germany, as part of its global sustainability push.
The experiment saw edible waffle cups replacing condiment sachets and containers, paper straws preferred to plastic straws, and wooden cutlery used instead of plastic cutlery.
Sandwiches were wrapped in packaging made from grass, not paper, and chicken nuggets were served in paper bags, rather than cardboard boxes.
The company says the idea was to facilitate an open discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and the challenges with possible solutions between McDonald’s, it’s customers and various stakeholders.
Diana Wicht, sustainability department head for McDonald’s Germany, said: “Normally, McDonald’s goes out with perfect solutions. This time we said, ‘we don’t have perfect solutions yet… please help us!’”
Although the chain says it is not yet ready to implement all of these changes it will be launching pilots and making changes to make its packaging around the globe more sustainable.
It also said the response to the Better McDonald’s Store and sustainable packaging efforts was very positive, with the grass wrapper proving a hit in terms of eco-friendliness and ease of use.
Meanwhile many people felt the edible waffle cups were a good alternative to the current sauce and dip sachets and containers, and customers believed the paper straws were eco-friendly, but had challenges with respect to ease of use and durability.
However wooden cutlery did not prove as popular, as one in two guests disliked the “woody” taste of the spoon.
McDonald’s has been experimenting with sustainability throughout the world.
In the UK, the firm is removing plastic lids from all of its McFlurry options, a change that will reduce plastic waste by 383 metric tons per year, and will also remove single-use plastic from salads; main meal and side salads will now be served in 100% renewable and recyclable cardboard containers..
A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We’re actively testing new packaging solutions and recycling initiatives in our restaurants around the world.
“By using our restaurants as mini innovation hubs, we can hear what our customers think and identify which solutions are the best to accelerate and scale-up and globally.”