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London 2012: McDonald’s Chooses Bioplastic Packaging, Will Recycle 75% of Building

McDonald’s is using Novamont’s Mater-Bi bioplastic for the cups, cutlery, straws, lids and containers used at its Olympic park restaurant, in a bid to meet the sustainability goals of the 2012 Games, writes Plastic News.

Mater-Bi is a biopolymer containing vegetable starches and oils. It is produced at Novamont’s plant at Terni, Italy, from local agricultural resources. All Mater-Bi products are biodegradable through composting, according to the Novamont website.

Mater-Bi materials are certified “biodegradable and compostable” under the EN13432 and EN14995 standards for Europe and under the ASTM D-6400 standard for the United States, Novamont said.

The London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paraolympic Games set standards requiring that all food packaging products, if not readily recyclable, must meet European standard EN 13432 and be biodegradable, news site Resource said.

Among its initiatives to meet the event’s green standards, McDonalds spent more than two years in research and development working with suppliers to achieve EN13432 compostability standards for its packaging; many of its products were compliant, but not officially certified, Plastic News said.

LOCOG identified four priority areas for hosting a sustainable Olympic event in its 2012 Sustainability Plan: honoring the zero-waste Games commitment made during the London 2012 bid; designing and building waste-efficient legacy facilities; minimizing waste during construction, operation and demolition or conversion of temporary and permanent venues; and using public education and outreach activity to promote low-waste lifestyles.

However, as a long-time major Olympic sponsor, McDonald’s is officially exempt from the detailed London requirements, and it has its own arrangements in place with the International Olympic Committee, Farmers Guardian reported in January 2012.

After receiving criticism for sourcing chicken outside the UK, the corporation eventually made a pledge to feed Olympics patrons chicken sourced exclusively from UK farmers.

For a short time, the flagship 1,500-seat restaurant next to the Olympic Stadium will be the biggest McDonald’s in world, as well as the biggest fast food outlet in the world, The Guardian said. But the longtime worldwide Olympic partner will dismantle the restaurant after the Games.

Three-quarters of materials will be reused, and nearly every item will be recycled, with furniture and equipment distributed to existing or planned restaurants in the UK. Thousands of items installed in the restaurant are logged to be easily transferred at the end of the Games, McDonald’s said.

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