McDonald’s has just announced that it will be collaborating with zero-waste delivery platform Loop to pilot a new reusable packaging scheme in the U.K. next year. The move by the fast food giant marks a major step forward in the movement to reduce plastic and packaging waste, especially since efforts have stalled for months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, has just revealed that it is partnering with circular delivery service Loop to test a new reusable cup model for hot beverages. The initiative, which will begin in 2021 in select locations in the U.K., marks a first for the fast food industry to introduce zero-waste packaging solutions.
Founded in May 2019 by the Franco-U.S. waste management company Terracycle, Loop will offer McDonald’s customers in these locations the option to choose a durable Loop-created cup for a small deposit. The deposit can then be returned when the cup is brought back to a participating McDonald’s restaurant to be professionally cleaned, sanitised and reused again.
“We’re on a journey to rethink how we package products to give customers options that reduce waste, maintain the highest safety standards, and enhance the McDonald’s experience they expect and enjoy,” said Jenny McColloch, vice president of global sustainability at McDonald’s.
“That’s an innovation challenge, and it’s one we think the Loop model has potential to help us solve…We’re excited to assess how new reusable packaging models could work within our system as we accelerate circular packaging solutions with our partners around the globe.”
We’re on a journey to rethink how we package products to give customers options that reduce waste, maintain the highest safety standards, and enhance the McDonald’s experience they expect and enjoy.Jenny McColloch, VP of Global Sustainability at McDonald’s
Amid the heightened hygiene challenges due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Loop has taken steps to ensure that each reusable item is properly cleaned. The system, developed in partnership with hygiene solutions company EcoLab, guarantees that each cup is as safe to use as its single-use counterpart.
While the pandemic has seen the rise of unfounded claims over coronavirus contamination related to reusables, many of which have been promoted by right-wing think tanks and lobbying groups who have exploited the crisis to push against bans on single-use plastics, recent scientific evidence has confirmed that reusables do not raise the risk of coronavirus transmission as long as basic hygiene is employed.
The expansion of circular delivery models such as Loop’s, particularly in partnership with a global fast food chain, represents hope that progress in the battle against plastic waste can be restarted.
The partnership paves the way for reusables to become an accessible option for consumers as they enjoy their meal on the go.Tom Szaky, Founder & CEO of TerraCycle & Loop
“This groundbreaking partnership with McDonald’s enables Loop to greatly expand its reach by bringing convenient reusable packaging options to the food service industry,” said Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle and Loop. “The partnership paves the way for reusables to become an accessible option for consumers as they enjoy their meal on the go.”
Earlier this year in July, the circular e-commerce startup announced its major partnership with Tesco to launch its services across the U.K., which offers customers more than 150 food and household products in refillable containers. The launch in the U.K. marks the third market that Loop’s services are available in, after the U.S. and France.
Lead image courtesy of McDonald’s.