Published: Tue, January 16, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

McDonald's expands goals on sustainable packaging

McDonald's expands goals on sustainable packaging

Now only half of McDonald's packaging is made from sustainable materials and only 10 per cent of its outlets recycle, the company said.

The latest move comes after McDonald's updated its environmental policy to include an aim to axe polystyrene packaging from restaurants across the world. Only 10% of stores now offer recycling bins for customer use.

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.

"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", Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer Francesca DeBiase, said in the release. She said that McDonald's will work with industry experts, local governments and environmental groups to improve packaging designs, create new recycling programs, set progress benchmarks and educate its employees and customers.

"Working with different municipalities to put the infrastructure in place is going to be the most complex piece of work that we do", DeBiase said. Increasingly, consumers and investors are demanding that corporations make commitments on global issues such as environmental sustainability and animal welfare.

McDonald's first began its focus on sustainable packaging nearly 25 years ago after it established a partnership with Environmental Defense Fund or EDF. The initiative eliminated more than 300 million pounds of packaging, recycled 1 million tons of corrugated boxes, and reduced waste by 30 percent in the decade following the partnership. Its goal is to use only packaging with Forest Stewardship Council certification, which certifies that materials are produced from responsibly managed forests.

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

There are more than 165 McDonald's restaurant in New Zealand, of which 85 per cent are independently owned.

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