It’s no secret trash is a growing problem that threatens the entire world. It’s estimated that the world, collectively, will generate 6 million metric tons of garbage each day in 2025—a shocking 70% increase from just 15 years prior.

To do what it can to use its massive scale to help improve the environment, McDonald’s—the global fast food chain with 37,000 restaurants spread out of 100 countries that together serve upwards of 69 million customers each day—recently introduced the company’s plans to produce 100% of its packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025. In 2016, 64% of McDonald’s fiber-based packaging was sustainable, with many markets nearing 100% sustainability.

The goal comes in response to feedback: Customers routinely tell McDonald’s that waste is the number one environmental issue they’re concerned about. The fast food company already tries to “embed sustainability in everything we do,” according to the post, so this new initiative made sense as the next natural step.

“Our ambition is to use less packaging, sourced responsibly and designed to be taken care of after use, working at and beyond McDonald’s restaurants to increase recycling and compositing and help create cleaner communities,” Francesca DeBiase, McDonald’s chief supply chain, and sustainability officer, wrote in the post.

The fast food chain plans to recycle 100% of product packaging by 2025 as well. Acknowledging that recycling infrastructure, regulations and behaviors change on a city-by-city and country-to-country basis, McDonald’s aims to use its influence to help enact significant change in the communities it serves.

Time will tell whether McDonald’s can meet its lofty goals—and whether they’ll spearhead change in the fast food industry as a whole, encouraging rivals to follow in their footsteps.

To learn more about this initiative—and several of their other environmentally friendly ones, too—check out the McDonald’s post on Medium.

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Main image Courtesy “Raising the Bar on Packaging and Recycling” via


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