The fast food industry has been making immense efforts in the past few years to become more environmentally friendly, and recently, the world’s largest restaurant chain has taken a major step forward. By the end of 2018, McDonald’s will stop using foam cold beverage cups at all of its worldwide branches.
The company plans to be using 100% recycled fiber-based packaging globally by 2020. The chain introduced more environmentally friendly paper containers, cups, and wrappers years ago as an attempt to please the millennials and young adults that have expressed many concerns.
Their concerns involve the toll McDonald’s single-use foam packaging takes on the environment, since it’s nearly impossible to recycle. More and more companies are realizing that these customers increasingly care about socially responsible brands as the years go on and on.
According to a 2015 report by environmental NGOs As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council, most large food brands are not doing much to address the issue. The report analyzed 47 food companies – including McDonald’s, Burger King, and Domino’s Pizza – based on what they call the “four pillars of packaging sustainability:” switching to reusable packaging; recycled content; recyclability and materials use; and boosting materials recycling. None of the 47 brands fulfilled all four pillars.
McDonald’s is trying to tell their board and customers that they’re listening. Senior vice president of As You Sow says this has been a long time coming and that “We do appreciate what McDonald’s has done. California-based corporate responsibility group, As You Sow knows this sends a message to other brands. It sends a global signal and that’s of value.”
Since McDonald’s is so globally well known, it won’t be long until other major companies follow their lead to work towards a cleaner planet.