McDonald’s to phase out plastic salad containers and McFlurry lids

McDonald's sells 383 metric tonnes of plastic McFlurry lids every year 

The fast food giant confirmed today (21 June) that no UK stores will offer plastic lids with their McFlurry ice creams by September – a move which will reduce its annual plastic waste footprint by 383 metric tonnes.

As for salads, McDonald’s UK & Ireland will replace the existing plastic bowls, cups and lids used across its entire range of salad-based mains and sides with recyclable cardboard containers from next week. The new packaging will be made from ‘carton board – a material that contains 50% recycled and 50% virgin content, all of which is from sources certified as renewable.

McDonald’s UK & Ireland estimates the new salad packaging will mitigate the use of 102 metric tonnes of plastic annually. The total impact of its new packaging announced today, therefore, will be a reduction of 485 million metric tonnes of plastic.

The changes come as McDonald’s UK is striving to source all packaging from renewable or recycled sources by 2025. It has already removed virgin plastic straws from all stores, replacing them with paper alternatives, and introduced multi-compartment bins to help encourage customers to recycle correctly.

“We are committed to listening to our customers and finding solutions with our suppliers that work for them, this is the latest example of that – but by no means the end,” Mcdonald’s UK & Ireland’s supply chain director Beth Hart said.

“We continue to look for solutions for our cutlery and lids, for example, but this is great progress. For us, sustainability is about more than just packaging. We have to look at the whole journey.”

At a global level, McDonald’s recently announced a new sustainability strategy seeking to reduce emissions by a third under approved science-based targets. It is targeting a 36% reduction the carbon emissions of its restaurants and offices by 2015, against a 2015 baseline. 

Sarah George

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