A new, global partnership between McDonald’s and TerraCycle's circular packaging service, Loop, will trial an initiative of the fast food chain to introduce the use of reusable cups for hot beverages.
The new cups will be tested across selected McDonald's restaurants in the UK in 2021.
Customers can choose to have their order served in a durable Loop-created cup, for a small deposit. The deposit can then be redeemed by returning the cup to participating McDonald's UK restaurants in order to be safely washed through the Loop system and reused again in McDonald's restaurants.
"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. That's an innovation challenge, and it's one we think the Loop model has potential to help us solve," said Jenny McColloch, vice president of global sustainability for the McDonald's Corporation.
“Additionally, the Loop partnership meets McDonald's cleanliness and safety standards, which have only become more important throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Loop's cleaning systems have been scientifically developed, in partnership with Ecolab, to sanitize each item, which means each cup is hygienically cleaned before each use, making it as safe and hygienic as single-use cups.”
Elsewhere, McDonald’s continues to invest in testing and scaling circular solutions for cups around the world. Other initiatives include the "Recup" system in Germany, and exploration into fully recoverable hot and cold fiber cups and reusable cup systems through a partnership with the NextGen Cup Challenge in the United States.
This work also builds on progress McDonald's has already made to recycle paper cups in multiple markets. Almost all of McDonald's restaurants across the UK now have recycling units for hot and cold paper cups. The paper cups are sent to specialist recycling centers where the plastic lining is removed from the fiber, which is then recycled into new products. As a member of the UK Paper Cup Coalition, McDonald's has invested in a scheme run by Valpak that incentivizes more waste companies to collect paper cups for recycling.