McDonald’s Corp. is expanding its environmental goals and vows to source all of its packaging products from renewable and recycled sources by 2025, the company said Tuesday.
The Oak Brook, Ill.-based burger giant previously set an “aspirational goal” of having 100 percent of its fiber-based packaging from recycled or certified sources where no deforestation occurs.
Last week, McDonald’s also indicated it would phase out foam packaging by the end of the year. Foam drink containers make up about 2 percent of McDonald’s packaging, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“As the world’s largest restaurant company, 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, in a statement.
Currently, 50 percent of McDonald’s customer packaging comes from renewable, recycled or certified sources, the company said, and 64 percent of fiber-based packaging comes from certified or recycled sources.
“Our customers have told us that packaging waste is the top environmental issue they would like us to address,” DeBiase said. “Our ambition is to make changes our customers want and to use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use, working at and beyond our restaurants to increase recycling and help create cleaner communities.”
McDonald’s estimated that 10 percent of its global restaurants are recycling customer packaging.
“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,” DeBiase said.
McDonald’s began to focus on sustainable packaging nearly 25 years ago, when it established a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund. The initiative eliminated more than 300 million pounds of packaging, recycled 1 million tons of corrugated boxes, and reduced waste by 30 percent in the decade following the partnership.
“McDonald’s continues to raise the sustainability bar by setting ambitious goals and collaborating with partners across the value chain for maximum impact,” said Tom Murray, vice president of the fund’s EDF+Business division.
In 2014, McDonald’s joined the World Wildlife Fund’s global forest and trade network program, and set its fiber sourcing targets, including the Forest Stewardship Council’s preference for packaging made from wood fiber.
Sheila Bonini, senior vice president for the WWF’s private sector engagement program, said McDonald’s announcement reflects “strong leadership in developing packaging and recycling solutions at a scale that can extend the life of our natural resources and push its industry toward more sustainable practices.”
After last week’s report on McDonald’s foam-packaging goals, a spokesperson said: “With our size and reach we have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference for our planet, and this decision is a significant step in our journey to be a better McDonald’s and positively impact the communities we serve.”
McDonald’s has more than 37,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.
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