Fast food giant McDonald’s has announced aims to have every one of its stores worldwide using only fully recyclable packaging by 2025.
Half of the American multinational’s packaging, including straws, bags and cups, currently comes from sustainable sources, while 10% of its global stores recycle customer packaging.
The company said it plans on getting both rates up to 100% over the next seven years but recognises that recycling infrastructure, regulations and consumer behaviours “vary city-to-city and country-to-country around the world”.
McDonald’s already had in place a goal that by 2020, 100% of fiber-based packaging, such as its burger boxes and paper bags, 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.”
DeBiase says the company, which operates around 37,000 stores across 100 different countries, will work with leading industry experts, local governments and environmental associations, to improve packaging and recycling practices.
“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,” he said.
The move follows similar commitments and initiatives from hospitality businesses to lowers its use of plastics and to reduce waste.
In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to ban all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042.
Adds Sheila Bonini, senior vice president, private sector engagement, World Wildlife Fund, said: “Smarter waste management begins with improved sourcing, increased value chain collaboration and better communication with customers.
“This announcement demonstrates McDonald’s strong leadership in developing packaging and recycling solutions at a scale that can extend the life of our natural resources and push its industry toward more sustainable practices.”