McDonald’s announced Tuesday that it would be transitioning toward 100 percent environmentally-friendly customer packaging by 2025, with a preference for materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Currently, half of the chain’s customer packaging comes from renewable, recycled, or certified sources.
The company also announced that it intended to offer recycling in all of its locations by 2025; currently, recycling is available in about 10 percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide.
“By 2025, the World Bank estimates a staggering 6 million tons of waste will be produced each day,” writes McDonald’s of the commitment. “As the world’s largest restaurant company, we have the responsibility and opportunity to take action on some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges in the world today.”
This commitment, reports Reuters, was made by the restaurant chain in response to requests from consumers.
This news comes on the tail of last week’s announcement that the chain would be eliminating foam packaging from its supply chain before the end of the year. Foam packaging currently makes up about 2 percent of the company’s packaging and is nearly impossible to recycle.
“We look forward to doing more and continuing to raise the bar on what it means to be a responsible company committed to people and the planet,” Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer, said in a press release.
McDonald’s has previously used its influence to influence changes within the marketplace, for example with its 2015 commitment to transition to cage-free eggs before 2025, a decision that Josh Balk, senior food policy director of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, says contributed to the frenzy of similar commitments from other chains and retailers, effectively creating a de facto end of battery-raised egg-laying hens in the United States.
Balk noted that prior to McDonald’s announcement, “Most companies were phasing in cage-free eggs, but without a timeline to get to 100 percent. McDonald’s announcement allowed companies to realize that these steps were no longer enough.”
This past August, McDonald’s also announced its commitment to transition away from chickens fed the highest priority antibiotics worldwide, in an attempt to stymie the growing instances of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection around the world. Following the McDonald’s announcement, a slew of other chains made similar commitments, including Burger King, KFC, and Jack in the Box.
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