McDonald’s Implements Significant Waste Reduction Initiative

McDonald’s is implementing a significant change to cut down on waste, aiming to remove 850 tons of plastic from its supply chain annually.

McDonald’s has taken a step to reduce plastic waste by announcing the elimination of plastic cutlery in its U.K. and Ireland branches. As of November 7, they will be introducing paper cutlery alternatives in all their stores across England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. This move is expected to significantly reduce the company’s plastic waste production.

“We’re undergoing a significant transformation,” a spokesperson announced to Dublin Live. “We’re discontinuing the use of plastic cutlery and introducing a new eco-friendly, paper-based alternative across all our restaurants in the U.K. and Ireland. This move aims to eliminate more than 850 tonnes of plastic from our supply chain annually.”

While the decision to eliminate plastic is a positive step, it falls short of addressing the ongoing plastic pollution crisis, marked by millions of tons of plastic produced annually and the accumulation of plastic waste in oceans and landfills worldwide. Notably, McDonald’s, along with two other companies, contributes nearly 40% of all branded plastic waste in the U.K., as reported by Surfers Against Sewage, a U.K.-based nonprofit, during its Million Mile Clean initiative.

Even shareholders of McDonald’s have urged the corporation to take further measures to reduce its plastic waste footprint and minimize its environmental impact. Therefore, there remains a significant amount of work for the fast food giant to undertake in order to truly address its environmental responsibilities, and while the move away from plastic is a step in the right direction, more comprehensive action is needed.

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