Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Los Angeles — McDonald’s said on Tuesday that it is responding to customers’ number one request by setting goals for switching to environmentally friendly packaging materials and offering recycling in all its restaurants.

"We have a responsibility to use our scale for good to make changes that will have a meaningful impact across the globe," said Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer.

The world’s biggest restaurant chain will aim to get 100% of its packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025, with a preference for Forest Stewardship Council certification, which ensures products come from responsibly managed forests.

Currently, 50% of McDonald’s customer packaging comes from renewable, recycled or certified sources, and 64% of fibre-based packaging comes from certified or recycled sources. The company will also make recycling available in all its restaurants by 2025, up from about 10% today.

Last week, McDonald’s said it would eliminate foam packaging from its global supply chain by the end of this year.

Recycling infrastructure, regulations and consumer behaviours vary city to city and country to country around the world, said DeBiase, and McDonald’s will work with industry experts, local governments and environmental groups to improve packaging designs, create new recycling programmes, set progress benchmarks and educate its employees and customers.

"These goals have the potential to be transformational because no other restaurant has the scope and global supply chain of McDonald’s," said Tom Murray, vice-president of corporate partnerships at the non-profit environmental advocacy group Environmental Defence Fund, which is one of McDonald’s partners on the waste reduction and recycling initiative.

Such efforts are good for the environment and for the bottom line, said Murray. "When McDonald’s began their waste-reduction efforts nearly 30 years ago, the business and environmental benefits were immediate: the company saved an estimated $6m a year."

McDonald’s has also has its large size and global reach to fight the rise of dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as "superbugs".

Scientists and public health experts warn that using medically important antibiotics to prevent disease and speed up growth in healthy animals fuels the development of those potentially deadly bacteria. In 2015, McDonald’s was the first global fast-food chain to commit to eliminating the use of these drugs from its US chicken supply chain, a move that prompted most of its rivals and most major chicken suppliers to follow suit.

Reuters

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