Reducing plastic in our customer packaging
For more than a decade, McDonald’s Australia has been working alongside our global business to scope and introduce initiatives to reduce plastics in our customer packaging (excluding pre-packaged products). This includes the removal of plastic lids from McFlurry cups, the introduction of fibre-based salad bowls, the removal of plastic carry bags and reducing the weight of sundae cups.
Since 2018, we’ve been working towards all customer packaging (excluding pre-packaged products) being made from renewable or reclaimed materials.
Renewable materials refer to material that is composed of biomass from a living source and that can be continually replenished. Renewable applies to plastics only, not fibre. (Source: ISO 14021:2016 for plastic, ASTM 6866 or ISO 16620-2).
Reclaimed materials refer to material that would have otherwise been disposed of as waste or used for energy recovery, but has instead been collected and recovered [reclaimed] as a material input, in lieu of new primary material, for a recycling or a manufacturing process. (Source: ISO 14021:2016).
In 2020, McDonald’s was one of the first restaurant groups in Australia to phased out single-use plastic straws and cutlery nationally, removing more than 500 million plastic straws and 115 million pieces of plastic cutlery from annual circulation.
These figures are based on the number of plastic straws and cutlery used nationwide in 2019. Please see below for state breakdown of plastic straws and cutlery that have been removed from annual circulation and replaced with fibre-based alternatives:
|State||Plastic straws removed||Plastic cutlery removed|
|SA & NT||33,460,000||7,181,000|
We are currently working on introducing sundae cups containing fibre-based materials in all restaurants nationwide by the end of 2023.
This involves working closely with our packaging suppliers to create the new packaging, trial it in restaurants and then distribute it to all restaurants across the country.
In 2021, 87.94%* of customer packaging (excluding pre-packaged goods) in Australia contained renewable, recycled or reclaimed materials, as we continue to work towards our goal to source all customer packaging from renewable or reclaimed materials. *Data is based on internal reporting and percentage is based on the weight of materials used.
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. Click here to view the latest Annual Report from APCO.
McDonald’s is a founding partner of Clean Up Australia Day, helping to remove rubbish and clean up local communities across Australia.
Since 1990, thousands of our employees have volunteered on Clean Up Australia Day, removing rubbish from communities.
McDonald’s has also donated over $5 million towards the partnership and clean up kits.