Earlier this year, the Dogwood Alliance released a report — “The 2008 Fast Food Packaging Report (PDF)” and a new website called “No Free Refills!” — focused on what it calls the destructive legacy of fast food packaging and called on some the country’s largest restaurant chains to overhaul the use of paper packaging or risk being the target of a national campaign. The report was released in Louisville, Kentucky, home of Yum Brands, the parent company of five chains listed in the report, including KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silvers, and A&W.
The group is calling on Yum and competitors like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Bojangles, Jack in the Box, and Arby’s to stop using so much packaging, to increase the use of recycled paper used in its packaging, and to stop buying paper packaging that originates from endangered forests in the Southern U.S.
According to the report:
• The average American eats fast food more that 150 times per year.
• 300 pounds of packaging waste are generated each year for each person in the U.S. and 32% of the entire domestic waste stream consists of containers and pack¬aging.
• Diners on the run generate more than 1.8 million tons of fast food packaging in the U.S. each year.
• Recent surveys show that fast-food packaging makes up about 20 percent of all litter, with packaging for chip bags, drink containers, candy wrappers and other snacks comprising another 20 percent.
Jennifer McCracken, environmental manager for HAVI-Perseco, McDonald’s global packaging supplier, recently outlined some of the ways McDonald’s is making its product packaging more sustainable.
A recent report from Dogwood Alliance and ForestEthics highlighted the forest-related paper practices of Corporate Express, FedEx Kinko’s, Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples.