The restaurant industry—especially the fast food segment—generates a huge amount of waste every year. Much of this waste ends up in landfills, but earlier this week, one chain revealed new recycling goals that could change the industry.
McDonald’s recently announced two new recycling goals that the fast food chain hopes to achieve by the year 2025. The first of these goals is to have recycling available in every one of their stores so customers can properly dispose of recyclable waste. The second goal is even more impressive. McDonald’s has pledged to have 100% of its customer packaging come from recycled, renewable, or certified sources by 2025.
How McDonald’s Will Achieve These Goals
The fast food chain came to this decision after learning that packaging waste was their customers’ top environmental concern. Once McDonald’s realized how important it was to their customers, they decided to figure out how they could make a positive change that would hopefully inspire other restaurants to do the same.
Right now, it is estimated that only about 10% of McDonald’s stores are recycling and about half of the chain’s packaging is sustainable. Based on these numbers, McDonald’s has a long road ahead to achieve the ambitious goals set this week. This is especially true since the rules of recycling vary so greatly from city to city.
Fortunately, McDonald’s does not plan on trying to reach these goals without a little help from environmental experts. The fast food chain revealed that it plans on working with industry experts, local government agencies, and green associations to determine the best way to achieve these goals. In addition to helping with the redesign of the packaging, these parties will also work closely with McDonald’s to ensure their massive workforce is trained on these important environmental topics.
Starting With Styrofoam
The chain also announced that they plan on eliminating all foam packaging by the end of this year. Foam packaging is difficult to recycle and harmful to the environment. In fact, major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. banned the use of Styrofoam packaging years ago. However, it’s frequently used by restaurants in other locations because it is inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to store.
McDonald’s has used Styrofoam to store food products, hot beverages, and cold drinks in the past. But, it stopped using foam packaging for food and hot beverage products after being pressured to eliminate this packaging by environmental non-profit organizations.
This type of packaging currently accounts for about 2% of McDonald’s total packaging. Even though it represents a small percentage of the chain’s packaging, eliminating it is certainly a step in the right decision.McDonald’s decision to set these lofty goals has been applauded by customers and environmental activists everywhere. Hopefully, the positive response to this announcement will encourage other companies in the restaurant industry to set similar goals. Although other chains, like Starbucks, have already established recycling programs, there are still many other companies within the industry that need to go green.