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Mickey D’s to Throw Its Weight behind Sustainable Packaging, Reach Hefty Goals

McDonald’s is attempting to address customer concerns about packaging waste (and influence the industry) with a new goal: by 2025, the fast-food giant will recycle customer packaging in 100% of its restaurants. Customers have told the company that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like the company to address.

The company also said that 100% of its packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources, with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council certification. The fast-food chain has a partnership with the Forest Stewardship Council to source FSC certified materials whenever possible.

McDonald’s will “use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use,” said Francesca DeBiase, chief supply chain and sustainability officer for the company.

Because of a complicated recycling infrastructure, the company says it will work with industry experts, local govern,ents and environmental associations to improve packaging and recycling practices. The company’s goals in this area include driving smarter packaging designs, implementing new recycling programs and establishing new measurement programs.

Environmental groups like the World Wildlife Fund and the Environmental Defense Fund laud the commitment. Sheila Bonini, Senior Vice President, Private Sector Engagement, World Wildlife Fund, said that smarter waste management “begins with improved sourcing, increased value chain collaboration and better communication with customers. Today’s announcement demonstrates McDonald’s strong leadership in developing packaging and recycling solutions at a scale that can […] push its industry toward more sustainable practices.”

As with many others in the food services industry, McDonald’s has come under fire for its packaging, particularly for its use of polystyrene and straws.


Currently, 50% of the company’s packaging comes from sustainable sources.

In related news, UK grocer Iceland Foods plans to nix all plastic packaging from products under its own brand by 2023.

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