McDonald's—the largest restaurant chain in the world—just unveiled plans to make its packaging more sustainable. By 2025, all of the cups, wrappers, straws, and Happy Meal boxes under the Golden Arches will be recyclable and responsibly sourced, meaning they won't be the product of deforestation. The restaurant's 37,000 locations will also be required to recycle on premises.
According to Francesca DeBiase, McDonald's chief supply chain and sustainability officer, an increasing number of diners have expressed interest in eco-friendly packaging. Considering the chain feeds 69 million mouths a day, this change could reverberate around the food industry.
"We have a responsibility to use our scale for good to make changes that will have a meaningful impact across the globe," DeBiase said in a statement. As it stands now, only about half of their packaging is made of recyclable material.
"In 2018, the idea of putting out recycling bins may not feel revolutionary for many of us, but this is significant in the fast food industry where recycling for that type of packaging is still a struggle," Jonathan Kaplan, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s food and agriculture program, wrote in response to the news. "If McDonald's delivers, the new measures could eliminate lots of fossil fuel-derived plastic, boost demand for sustainably certified paper sources, and create additional market demand for recycled-content materials."
We're looking forward to a day when diners around the world pay mind to the wrapping, not just the food inside.
This food-and-drink hot spot is also paying more mind to its packaging waste.