As much as I love and hate McDonald’s restaurants it’s not going away any time soon! Every day McDonald’s serves 2.5 million people in 1400 locations across Canada! Since we live in a fast-paced world it’s sometimes hard to find time to prepare a meal. So, we reward our senses with instant gratification and give them repeat business. It is what it is! But what are they doing to be environmentally friendly?
Why eating out is not environmentally friendly
One fast-food invention boosted sales and made instant gratification a reality for billions of people. So, unless something changes the drive-thru will forever contribute to single-use trash. I love the drive-thru and use it multiple times a day. Who doesn’t love crispy french fries, custom made coffee beverages and swirl cones? Invented over seventy years ago we gravitated to eating in the comfort of our own car!
A relationship between the drive-thru has grown with the production of plastic. After seven decades. scientists have crunched the numbers. They’ve discovered the world has so far produced a total of 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic! The world suffers from too much garbage and our appetite for convenience fuels its production!
We’ve built up these massive institutions like McDonald’s that rely on single-use containers and packaging. So, it’s not surprising is slow to change its business model into an environmentally friendly business. Its two main problems are dumping waste materials in landfills and non-recyclable packaging.
How Mcdonalds is working to be environmentally friendly
I decided to write after discovering McDonald’s restaurants are using post-consumer packaging. In a perfect world, a circular economy would manage our resource consumption. Yet, I realize now that recycling is falling apart across Canada!
McDonald’s is the largest Restaurant chain in the world! By 2025 their goal is to switch 100% of their packaging from virgin material to recycled, renewable certified materials. They’ve pledged to recycle packaging, creating a recycling infrastructure in each restaurant.
In 2018, they joined an alliance between Closed Loop Partners and Starbucks. The goal is to create a 100% recyclable or compostable disposable cup. They held the Next Generation Cup Challenge, which promised twelve cup solutions.
Fast food giants such as McDonald’s want to use packaging that will biodegrade. But, their current packaging is coated in plastic so the food doesn’t destroy it. Even though the restaurant is starting to change its ways they have a long way to go… There’s still lots of room for improvement!
The restaurant industry gives us food on a plate used by thousands of different people. We walk in, sit down, eat and leave. The plate is rinsed, washed, dried and repeat! However, the fast-food joints don’t operate the same way. When we sit down to eat a meal they provide us with the same single-use packaging as the drive-thru. That’s got to change!
I want to let you know that I’ve brought my own cup to drive-thrus for almost a year. It’s important for people to reduce their waste since much of it is dumped or incinerated. However, I’ve learned the company’s policy (2019) is to use single-use cups to “refill” my own cup. They’re told to throw it away after it’s used since it will be “contaminated.” This completely defeats the purpose and undermines the consumer’s efforts. I urge you to buy at local independent shops to get your morning coffee. I will boycott their coffee until policies change.
Furthermore, children drive profits so I understand why fast food chains are enticing kids. However, the plastic toys have got to go! The toys are not only plastic, but they’re packaging the toys in little plastic bags too! It’s always one new toy fad to the next. These toys are good for the first ten minutes, then kids lose interest. Eventually, as children grow the toy becomes landfill waste. Corporations like McDonald’s must stop selling these types of toys. Switch to an environmentally friendly alternative…for the love of life!
There are countless petitions that are signed every day to ban plastic straws. So Mcdonald’s introduced paper straws across 1361 locations. It’s great to see the company try. But, there’s been a backlash from customers since these straws dissolve and collapse. Paper is not the only alternative but most likely the cheapest one! We’ve yet to see their alternate plan which for now seems to continue using plastic ones!
Canadians and food companies like Mcdonalds hold a dirty little secret. Together we generate more trash per capita than any other country in the developed world. By 2025 the World Bank estimates the world will produce 6 million tons of waste a day. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the Oceans than fish! It’s time to make a change.
The problems we face today are real. We all know what we’ve done to the environment so far. Don’t go about your day thinking someone will fix these problems for you. Future generations will be sadly let down. They will inherit the crap we throw out. You have the power to make a difference. It will take education from the streets. Learn from one another. Read Blogs like mine to help you sift through the debris. Be prepared. Bring your own cup, plate, and cutlery until they make the change.
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