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McDonald’s unit earns brand’s first sustainability certification

McDonald’s unit earns brand’s first sustainability certification

Green group awards Maryland restaurant with top honor

A franchised McDonald’s unit in Bethesda, Md., has become the brand’s first to earn Level 1 certification from the nonprofit Green Restaurant Association, the organization said Monday.

The GRA said the McDonald’s unit implemented 26 environmental steps and met certification stands in the categories of food, water, waste, energy, disposables and chemicals-pollution.

The quick-service restaurant also eliminated use of polystyrene foam and has implemented a full-scale recycling program, the GRA said.

“This McDonald’s location is an environmental trailblazer for all McDonald’s and QSRs,” said Michael Oshman, association CEO, in a statement, “and shows that it’s possible for any type of restaurant to integrate environmentally sustainable practices.”

The McDonald’s earned 95.78 points out of a possible 100 in the GRA certification tally, the group said.

Among elements of the new McDonald’s unit are:
- 100 percent light-emitting diode (LED) lighting;
- high- efficiency pre-rinse sprayer and hand sink aerators, which help to save energy and water;
- Energy Star-rated equipment, which is 30 percent to 40 percent more energy efficient than conventional models;
- no paper towels in restrooms;
- employer-sponsored public transportation cards.

Kari Swenson, owner and operator of the McDonald’s at 5214 River Road in Bethesda, said, “The exciting thing is that by switching to LED lighting, addressing water reduction and by initiating daily waste recycling practices, we not only help the environment, but we achieve significant cost savings.”

Swenson added that those savings could be reinvested in the facility and the employees.

The GRA, founded in 1990, is based in Boston and operates in 41 states and Canada.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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