The burger giant has announced it will phase out plastic cutlery from all its restaurants across the country by year’s end, instead moving to “fibre-based” cutlery.
It will remove 585 tonnes of plastic per year, and follows Macca’s previous commitment to turn away from plastic straws this year, which means 500 million plastic straws will be removed from circulation annually.
Kylie Freeland, McDonald’s Australia’s director of supply chain and sustainability said the global juggernaut was committed to being an industry leader when it comes to sustainability.
“We’re committed to being an industry leader in sustainable practices, ultimately using our scale for good to positively impact challenges facing the communities we operate in,” Ms Freeland said.
“By removing plastic straws and cutlery from McDonald’s restaurants, we are continuing to reduce our environmental footprint and will be removing more than 860 tonnes of plastic from our system.”
McDonald’s has been “actively scoping” and introducing initiatives that reduce the plastic used within its packaging requirements for more than a decade, including the removal of plastic lids from McFlurry cups, salad bowls being replaced with a fibre-based alternatives and sundae cups now being lighter in weight.
Those changes alone removed nearly 250 tonnes of plastic from McDonald’s Australia restaurants, and by weight, now 85 per cent of Macca’s packaging is fibre-based.
The announcement comes as a national plastics summit aimed at reducing pollution gets underway in Canberra today.
The summit will call on the federal government to ensure 100 per cent of plastic packaging be reusable, compostable or recyclable by 2025.
It will be hosted by federal Environmental Minister Sussan Ley and attended by 200 representatives from government, industry and community sectors.
In a joint statement, the Boomerang Alliance and the World Wide Fund Australia said plastic entered Australian oceans at a rate of 130,000 tonnes a year. But with plastic recycling rates only reaching 9 per cent, the organisations said the federal and state governments must intervene where the market has failed.
More to come.
– With wires