McDonald's to recycle packaging globally by 2025

One restaurant averages 2,200 punds of waste a week

A McDonald's Happy Meal. McDonald's will recycle packaging in all of its almost 37,000 restaurants globally by 2025, the company announced. (McDonald's)
A McDonald's Happy Meal. McDonald's will recycle packaging in all of its almost 37,000 restaurants globally by 2025, the company announced. (McDonald's)

CHICAGO — McDonald’s will recycle packaging in all its almost 37,000 restaurants globally by 2025, the company announced Tuesday.

The fast-food chain added all of its packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources where no deforestation occurs by that same year.

These are big steps for the Oak Brook, Ill.-based burger giant, and the move could pressure other large companies to follow suit. Consumers and investors increasingly are demanding that corporations make commitments on global issues such as environmental sustainability and animal welfare.

Only about 10 percent of McDonald’s restaurants globally currently are recycling packaging. Reaching the new goals will take time and coordination in communities around the world, said Francesa DeBiase, chief supply chain and sustainability officer for McDonald’s.

“We can’t do this alone. We’re going to work with our suppliers, franchisees and other industry leaders to effect change at the local level,” DeBiase said.

A 2014 company study of two restaurants, one focused on dine-in business and one centered on the drive-through, found the per-restaurant average was more than 2,200 pounds of waste a week.

This announcement comes after the Chicago Tribune reported last week that McDonald’s planned to stop using foam cups by the end of this year.

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The company also previously announced that all fiber-based packaging — paper wrappers, fry cartons, paper cups — would come from recycled or certified sources where no deforestation occurs by 2020.

About 80 percent of McDonald’s packaging is fiber-based, DeBiase said. The rest — such as plastic cup lids and straws — is not, she said.

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