McDonalds switches to wooden cutlery

All other cutlery is also replaced by wooden cutlery. This means that 102,000 kilos less plastic is put into circulation every year. This is in addition to the 125.00 kilos of plastic that McDonald’s has already saved per year since 2020 by issuing paper straws and McFlurry cups without plastic lids. With this, McDonald’s is fulfilling its ambition to become circular. By 2025, the company aims for 100 percent of its product packaging to be made from renewable, recycled or certified materials and for 90 percent of all waste it puts into circulation to be recycled.

‘With the introduction of the wooden McFlurry spoon, wooden cutlery and various smaller packaging, we are taking another important step towards a circular future,’ says Annemarie Swijtink, Director Marketing, Communication and Insights at McDonald’s Netherlands. ‘As a market leader, we feel a responsibility to be economical with raw materials and to produce less waste, from the beginning to the end of the chain. We have set ourselves ambitious goals for this. It is great that we have been able to bring these goals closer again. We do not do this alone. Our guests, restaurant teams, the international McDonald’s organization, suppliers and various stakeholders play an indispensable role in this. In this way we do more together for less waste.’

The McFlurry is said to be one of McDonald’s most popular products, the Dutch order about 16 million of these ice creams every year. By replacing the plastic McFlurry spoon with a wooden spoon, the restaurant chain puts significantly less plastic into circulation. This adjustment alone will save around 70,000 kilos of plastic on an annual basis. The replacement of plastic cutlery for salads and Sundae ice creams saves 32,000 kilos of plastic per year. The spoon is not the only thing that changes for McFlurry lovers: from now on the toppings are no longer mixed with a machine, but through the ice cream in an artisanal way. One thing doesn’t change: the taste of the McFlurry. The wooden McFlurry spoon has been extensively tested for taste and, like all other wooden cutlery at McDonald’s, is made of FSC-certified materials.

Together for less waste
McDonald’s is working hard in the fight against (litter) waste in various ways. In addition to reducing the amount of packaging the company puts into circulation, McDonald’s restaurants are committed to collecting as much packaging as possible after use. They do this themselves by collecting litter in their area every day and by working closely with municipal authorities, other agencies, NGOs and professional litter pickers. For example, McDonald’s works together with the Nederland Schoon foundation and the restaurant chain is a partner of the Shoulders Under Clean collaboration platform, an initiative of Rijkswaterstaat. On this platform, 36 organizations working to reduce waste share expertise and ideas for a cleaner Netherlands. McDonald’s also encourages its guests to throw away their waste with national consumer campaigns such as You Bin It You Win It or Trash Dance. With these campaigns, for which McDonald’s uses its own marketing resources and expertise, guests are encouraged to do their part for a cleaner living environment.

Towards a circular future
McDonald’s says it wants to use raw materials as economically as possible and is therefore also working on a circular system for all its packaging in other areas. ‘For example, the company always checks whether raw materials can be saved with a different design or choice of materials. Examples of this, in addition to the wooden cutlery, are the straws that have been made of paper since last year and the introduction of the new packaging for the Chili Chicken and the McKroket. Thanks to these adjustments, about 75,000 kilos of plastic and 250,000 kilos less cardboard are put into circulation every year.’

McDonald’s also focuses on recycling. The company has been collecting waste in the kitchen separately for 30 years and separates waste from guests with machines. In 2023, 100 percent of the waste will be separated, the restaurant chain promises, so that by 2025 McDonald’s can recycle as many raw materials from this residual waste as possible into materials for new products. ‘Recycled material is already used where possible: the Chocomel and Fristi in the restaurant will soon be served in bottles made of rPET, recycled plastic.’


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