Environment & Sustainability

Being environmentally responsible is a key part of our business.

We have always strived to be an environmentally responsible business. As one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, we have the responsibility and opportunity to use our Scale for Good and take action on some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges in the world today.

We embrace this opportunity to drive meaningful progress, and do so by collaborating with millions of customers, employees, franchisees, suppliers and other partners.

While we’re committed to taking on many challenges facing society today, we’re elevating a few global priorities where we believe we can make the greatest difference and drive industry-wide change. You can read more about our global commitments here

As we work towards achieving these goals, we are proud that McDonald’s Australia has already made good progress against a number of these targets, which create shared value for our business and our communities.

You can read more about the progress we’re making in the McDonald’s Australia 2019 Scale for Good report.

But we know there’s lots more to do.

Keeping Australia tidy

Like you, we don’t like litter. To try to stop litter before it happens we support organisations like Clean up Australia (CUA).

McDonald’s is a founding partner and have partnered with CUA for the past 30 years since its inception in 1989.

McDonald’s has donated more than $5 million towards both sponsorship and clean up kits since the inception of Clean up Australia Day and this year we had more than 11,000 volunteers from our restaurants and offices participate in the day.

Managing Food Waste

McDonald’s first became a partner of Foodbank Australia in 2011. Since then, we have donated over 550,000kgs of edible goods from our distribution centres across Australia. In 2018 alone, we contributed over 100,000kgs of food, which equates to around 235,600 meals for Australians in need.


Making recycling easier

Recycling shouldn’t be a chore. That’s why we have made a commitment to recycle guest packaging in 100% of our restaurants by 2025.


Being smarter with deliveries

We’re trying to drive fewer kilometres and deliver to our restaurants in the most efficient way possible. We’re consolidating deliveries and implementing trials to use the trucks that deliver our food for reverse logistics initiatives, such as recycling. By better utilising these trucks, our overall impact is reduced.

All of our Distribution Centres have been converted to be more energy efficient, with new builds also containing large scale solar installations.

Rethinking our packaging

We realise that little changes to our packaging can make a big difference– in recent years we have removed the plastic lid from the McFlurry, reduced the weight of our Sundae Cups and reduced the amount of fibre used in our coffee cup design significantly. All these small changes have reduced the amount of plastic used and waste being sent to landfill.

Currently, 88% of our packaging is fibre based and 100% of that fibre based packaging comes from recycled or renewable sources. 100% of our fibre based gest packaging is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the programme for endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

Since July 2018, McDonald’s has been working with Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners as a global founding partner of the NextGen Cup Challenge. Globally, McDonald’s has invested $5 million towards the project, which aims to discover a scalable, sustainable fibre to-go cup. Find out more about the challenge here.

McDonald’s works with The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) on packaging stewardship. We actively participate with other brand owners through working groups on ways to improve sustainable packaging design and recovery through innovative, sustainable solutions. For more information, please find our APCO Action Plan here.

Ditching plastic straws and cutlery

We know plastic is a topic our customers are passionate about. We are committed to removing problematic single use plastics and have already removed plastic straws and cutlery from all our restaurants across the country. our current plastic straws from our restaurants by the end of 2020. We’re currently trialling fibre straws in select restaurants around the country and this year, we will be implementing a ‘straw behind the counter’ policy nationwide to minimise plastic waste

Using less energy

All new McDonald’s restaurants are fully equipped with LED lights, from the kitchen to the car park, which uses 50% less energy than fluorescent lights.

Our new restaurants are built to use less power – from energy management systems that control our lights, heating and air conditioning, to energy-efficient kitchen equipment and motion sensitive lighting.

Globally, McDonald’s has made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to McDonald’s restaurants and offices by 2030 (from a 2015 base year) by 36%.

Supporting beef sustainability

We believe well-managed beef production plays an important role in thriving food systems for people, animals and the planet. To this end, we approach beef sustainability holistically and consider our impact on the planet, the livelihoods of the people who produce our food, the communities in which they live and the well-being of the animals we rely on. McDonalds has participated in the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework external stakeholder consultation committee since its inception in 2017. The Framework defines sustainable beef production under four themes: animal welfare, economic resilience, environmental stewardship, and people and the community. McDonald’s is invested in research projects to support the Australian beef industry and the ABSF priorities. We have helped our suppliers and other partners to engage with and support the framework and to scale the adoption of best practice with beef producers on the ground.

McDonald's Flagship Farmers is a global program, that showcases farmers in our supply chain to help develop and share best practice.