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Reducing waste, recycling more

Our goal is simple - to strive to improve our impact on the environment. All of our activities are centred around the key priorities of reduce, reuse and recycle. Our ambition is to recycle at least 50% of our waste and divert the remaining waste to Energy Recovery Facilities, rather than landfill.

Reducing Waste

All McDonald’s restaurants have processes in place to reduce the amount of food wasted, by way of efficient stock control, ordering and production systems. We are continually looking to reduce the amount of material we use in packaging. For example, we reduced the size of our tray liners and resized our Big Mac® boxes, which resulted in a saving of approximately 434 tonnes of paper each year.

Recycling waste

We recycle most of the waste from restaurant kitchens including plastic and paper packaging, used cooking oil, corrugated cardboard and food waste. The used cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel, which is used to help fuel our delivery fleet, saving over 7,500 tonnes of CO2 each year.

The used cooking oil, cardboard and kitchen food waste is collected by the vehicles that have delivered food and packaging to the restaurants. Using the delivery trucks in this way saves an additional 5,000 trips per year.

Customers will soon be able to use new recycling units to separate paper cups and plastic for recycling. This initiative will be in place in Scottish restaurants by the end of Q2 2016, and in restaurants across the UK by the end of 2018. We are working with a specialist recycler for paper cups, who will be able to recycle the paper into new products and as a result prevent additional trees from being chopped down.

Energy from Waste

Where we cannot reuse or recycle restaurant waste, we take care to dispose of it in an environmentally responsible way and are looking for different ways to divert it from landfill. One of these ways is to send the waste to Energy Recovery Facilities, where it is converted to heat and power. The energy produced at these facilities is classed as renewable.

If you would like to know more, or have a specific query, please visit What Makes McDonald’s.