Why not make it sustainable from the outset? That’s the goal with our packaging. McDonald’s is implementing a global packaging scorecard to better inform the decisions we make about packaging. The scorecard builds on best practices from our European and North American markets, as well as advice from outside experts and NGOs such as the Environmental Defense Fund.
The scorecard framework focuses on our key environmental priorities for packaging:
Maximizing use of recycled materials
Preference for renewable raw materials from third-party certified sources
Minimizing the amount of harmful chemicals used in production
Reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions
Maximizing end-of-life options such as recycling or composting.
The McDonald’s System is one of the world’s largest purchasers of recycled paper. We use it in our tray liners, napkins, bags, sandwich containers and other restaurant materials such as shipping containers. Today, approximately 79% of the consumer packaging used in our eight largest markets is made from renewable (paper or wood-fiber) materials, and nearly 30% of consumer packaging is made from recycled materials. In the U.S. alone, the McDonald’s System purchased more than $688 million in recycled materials in the U.S. for the consumer packaging category in 2009.
Keeping score - sustainable packaging from the outset
Across the McDonald’s System, we continue to find ways to reduce the packaging impacts of specific McDonald’s menu items. Here are a few recent examples:
Brazil - An operational mandate of giving each customer two napkins was changed to providing each customer with one. This resulted in a savings of approximately 1088 tons of napkin materials.
Europe - In 2009, McDonald´s France introduced its frappe cup and lid made out of 40% recycled PET (rPET). By using recycled materials, this reduces the amount of virgin resin needed by 123 metric tons, while at the same time, reducing waste landfilled by an equivalent amount.
USA - McDonald’s supply chain partner HAVI Global Solutions identified the potential to achieve cost savings and deliver environmental benefits while maintaining performance and premium product image by transitioning to a plastic material called Clarified Polypropylene (CPP) from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). The CPP package delivers the same consumer experience while using 20% less material as compared to PET. Less material use per cup drove cost reduction of 15% as well as reduced inputs of raw materials and energy and generated 20% less solid waste. Cup transition began in 2009 and will be completed in 2012.
Australia - Currently, all PET cups contain a minimum of 35% recycled PET (rPET). In 2009, McDonald's Australia introduced a lighter weight McFlurry spoon for use in Australia and New Zealand. This reduced the amount of polypropylene resin needed by more than 31 tons.
Many other examples were captured in our catalog of environmental practices, the McDonald's 2010 Global Best of Green e-book, including Japan’s unbleached bag, France’s Crosillon Meal carrier, and China’s Olympics promotional packaging.