As part of its growing company-wide sustainability goals, McDonald’s announced Friday the investment in new sustainable team uniforms. The new crew uniforms will be made with CiClo technology, which allows synthetic materials like polyester to biodegrade at similar rates to natural fibers, like wool.
While polyester uniforms are generally preferred by fast-food companies for team uniforms because of their durability and washability, they shed plastic microfibers when being created and washed, which often will end up in our oceans and other natural ecosystems, becoming part of the estimated 358 trillion microplastic particles floating around in the oceans.
CiClo technology is a patented textile ingredient that is added to the uniforms along with traditional polyester. The ingredient is activated when the material is exposed prolonged exposure to microbes and water, so it will still be durable while a crew member is using it, but will be better for the environment in the long-run. The fabric is now available to all U.S. McDonald’s restaurants in the company’s classic denim uniforms.
This is the third major sustainability announcement McDonald’s has made over the past year as the company reinvigorates its commitment to environmental causes. In Feb. 2023, the company announced a new solar energy project in collaboration with Lightsource in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. When the project is completed by the end of this year, it is expected to provide 630 restaurants’ worth of renewable electricity annually.
Then, in Oct. 2023, McDonald’s announced a sustainable makeover of its iconic McFlurry spoon, which will transition into a smaller, black spoon that uses less plastic than the original two-in-one spoon/spindle. Instead, employees will be equipped with a reusable spindle that’s swapped out and cleaned after each McFlurry order is prepared. This is part of the company’s attempt at reducing both plastic use, including the elimination of unnecessary packaging.
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