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McDonald’s is trying plastic-free restaurants in Canada and Germany, as part of a greater push toward sustainability. The global company tested out the concept in a Berlin restaurant in June, using grass for burger packaging and replacing plastic spoons with wooden ones.
In the Berlin location, they branded themselves as the “Better McDonald’s Store,” during the 10 day test drive. The test was to check customer reaction and to test different plastic-free products in the stores. Condiments had edible packaging and paper bags replaced cardboard Chicken McNuggets containers.
McDonald’s was eager for feedback during the Germany study. In their press release heralding the pilot, Sustainability Department Head for McDonald’s Germany shared, “Normally, McDonald’s goes out with perfect solutions. This time we said, ‘We don’t have perfect solutions yet… please help us!” After the pilot, customers shared they weren’t crazy about the taste of the wooden spoon in their McFlurries.
Apart from this pilot, multiple McDonald’s across Germany have porcelain or glass mugs for in-house drinks. 30 German restaurants also introduced a deposit system for carry out cups. Customers can purchase a cup for 1 euro to take their drink in. The customer can keep it or return it to get their deposit back.
The company opened similar pilot projects in Ontario and British Columbia. Not all McDonald’s pilot programs have been as successful. The paper straw replacement campaign in the U.K. drew complaints from customers. Their straws were flimsy and disintegrated.
This plastic free news comes on the tails of announcements from Nestle, Dasani and PepsiCo. Large companies are working to remove plastic from their products, especially single-use plastics. Environmentalists continue to speak out against single-use plastics and their affect on oceans, landfills, and marine life.
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