McDonald’s opens its first net-zero carbon restaurant in the UK

Image: McDonald's UK & Ireland

The restaurant, in Market Drayton, Shropshire, is due to be verified as net-zero in the coming months. It will act as a blueprint for McDonald’s UK & Ireland’s future new-build and retrofitted restaurants, as it works to become a net-zero business by 2040. There is an interim commitment to achieve net-zero for all offices and restaurants by 2030.

To reduce emissions from construction, the project was planned to maximise efficiencies and to incorporate several elements made with innovative recycled materials. The cladding, for example, is made from recycled IT equipment and white household goods. There are also kerb stones made from recycled plastic bottles, a drive-thru lane made from recycled tyres and internal wall signs made from used coffee beans.

Additionally, the wall insulation at the restaurant is made using surplus wool, locally sourced from British farms, that may otherwise have gone to waste.

To reduce operational emissions, an onsite solar array has been fitted, as well as two wind turbines. These arrays will not meet the entirety of the restaurant’s electricity demands but will significantly decrease its reliance on the grid. McDonald’s UK & Ireland only uses renewable electricity, in the form of tariffs and power purchase agreements, where it does not self-generate.

Additionally, there are electric vehicle (EV) charging points on site. McDonald’s UK & Ireland announced last summer that it is working with InstaVolt to install EV chargers at all drive-thru locations, of which it has more than 1,200.

edie has reached out to McDonald’s UK and Ireland for more information on the built-in sustainability features at the restaurant – particularly how cooking and heating will be decarbonized –  and how the business plans to use offsetting or insetting to “net” residual emissions.

The restaurant is opening this week but there will, in the future, be an added garden and nature trail designed to improve biodiversity on the site.

McDonald’s UK & Ireland’s vice president for supply chain and brand trust, Beth Hart, said the restaurant will enable the firm to “to test and put into practice what a net-zero emissions building, both in build and use, really looks like”.

“We’ve already started to roll out some of these innovations to other restaurants, but what is exciting about Market Drayton is the fact it will act as a blueprint for our future new builds,” she added.

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has welcomed the opening of the restaurant as a “critical first step” in delivering net-zero new-build food outlets. McDonald’s UK&I is verifying the building against the Council’s net-zero building standard, which covers emissions from construction and operations. The standard is not typically used for restaurants, but rather for residential and office buildings. 

Several of McDonald’s UK & Ireland’s competitors have set their own net-zero targets, either as standalone strategies or as part of initiatives such as the Zero Carbon Forum or the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) climate action roadmap. The Forum includes names such as Pizza Hut, Burger King and Nando’s, while the BRC represents brands including Greggs, Costa Coffee, KFC and McDonald’s UK & Ireland.

Sarah George

Comments (1)

  1. Simon Heppner says:


    Even a quick read of the press release demonstrates that this is neither a Truthful or Substantiated claim.

    Come on team Edie – you can do better than simply reprint the claims peddled by corporate press offices!

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