McDonald’s takes plastic off the menu!

Posted on 07 July 2020.

At the end of 2019, the fast-food leader began an ecological turnaround in the production and management of plastics in its restaurants. A number of measures have been introduced in Europe, where legislation is being tightened.

McDonald’s will reduce its annual plastic consumption in France by 1,200 metric tons.

The king of the burger’s new motto is "Better M". Better McDonald's is McDonald's commitment to fighting plastic waste in its European restaurants.

After a trial phase, in recent months the company has taken several concrete steps to eliminate lids, packaging and of course the number one enemy of environmentalists, straws.

Its single use makes it one of the most polluting and widespread small objects: the number of straws thrown away worldwide every day is estimated at 1 billion.

More generally, every second 10.1 metric tons of plastic are produced worldwide, of which barely 26% is recycled, according to Citeo. 

Since November 2019, plastic straws have completely disappeared from McDonald's French restaurants, as have the plastic lids that used to cover its cold drinks cups.

From now on, at McDonald's you drink your coke from a paper fiber cup made from "sustainably managed forests". Eventually, the French subsidiary reckons it will be able to reduce its annual plastic consumption by 1,200 metric tons.

"Thanks to this operation, only 4% of plastic will be left in our packaging," states Delphine Smagghe, Vice-President for purchasing at McDonald’s France.


A program soon to go global

The "Better M" program also covers the UK, where recycling for Happy Meal toys is being tested. Seven restaurants across the country will serve as a recycling base: customers can return their used toys for recycling into new ones. 

Another action to reduce plastic: the McFlurry makeover. By the end of 2020 and in all European restaurants, the famous ice cream will lose its traditional plastic lid and switch to new recyclable packaging. 

These measures are in line with changes in European legislation on plastics. In 2021, Europe will ban the use of single-use plastic. Q-tips, straws, cutlery... everything has to go!

For McDonald's, the "Better M" program should eventually be rolled out in all the countries it operates in. Keith Kenny, Vice-President responsible for sustainable development, told AFP: "We aim to have all our packaging from renewable sources by 2025, and to recycle waste in every one of our 37,000 restaurants around the world."