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Will paper straws and wooden cutlery pave way for greener golden arches?

Will paper straws and wooden cutlery pave way for greener golden arches?
Issue Time:2019-08-20
McDonald’s Canada is shaking up its packaging strategy almost a year after Greenpeace revealed the fast food giant was one of the country’s top five plastic polluters in shoreline waste audits.

When diners head to the McDonald’s on Wonderland Road South in London, Ont. or the Vancouver spot on Hastings Street starting August 19, they’ll notice several differences between those restaurants and the country’s 1,448 others.

Instead of plastic, wooden cutlery and stir sticks as well as paper straws will appear at the two “green concept restaurants” as part of a pilot for the multi-billion dollar chain. The stores will also serve fully recyclable soda cups with new fibre lids that diners can sip from straw-free.

Across Canada, the company has already begun selling McWraps in thin paper wrapping instead of a thicker carton, ditching foam gravy bowls and breakfast platters, emblazoning Happy Meals with recycling instructions and serving coffee in “light-weighted” cups. All told, the moves will remove more than 1,500 tons of packaging materials from the McDonald’s Canada system annually. It’s all part of an ambitious plan to ensure that 100 per cent of McDonald’s consumer packaging comes from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025.

Many have applauded the push. When a fast food giant as prolific as McDonald’s makes bold moves to increase sustainability, it’s bound to have an impact and persuade competitors to follow suit, they reason.