FOOD TRENDS

REUSABLE MCDONALD’S PACKAGING INTRODUCED TO REDUCE WASTE

Photos of reusable McDonald’s packaging went viral last week with social media users “obsessing” over the retro design. They were spotted by a Twitter user in France who shared images of glasses, chip holders and even Happy Meal boxes. The post was retweeted by President Emmanuel Macron who heralded the reusable packaging as a sign of things to come. In France, changes are being made to alter consumption patterns and reduce waste.

The packaging is part of a trial across a few fast food locations in France and the rest of Europe, McDonald’s told. And it comes as the European Commission pushes for shops, restaurants and other businesses to ditch single-use packaging.

Imminent legislation could see fast food restaurants forced to serve 40 per cent of meals in reusable packing when customers sit inside to eat. A draft revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive sees the EU aim for all packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2030. The proposal for revisions to laws tackling waste highlights the average European generates around 180kg of waste from packaging every year.  Without further measures to reduce waste, this will continue to grow before the end of the decade.

“The way goods are packaged can and should be done a lot better,” said European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.

He added that everyone has experienced the problem of deliveries with a massive half-empty box or food served in single-use containers rather than on plates at restaurants.

“Such overpackaging is a nuisance to us and increasingly damaging to our environment.”

The new rules include a number of measures that, if approved by EU member states and the European Parliament, could impact companies like McDonald’s across the bloc.

By 2030, 20 per cent of takeaway drink cups will need to be reusable, rising to 80 per cent by 2040. For soft drinks containers, the target is 10 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent by 2040.

And 10 per cent of packaging used for takeaway food will need to be reusable by 2030 – increasing to 40 per cent by 2040.

Combined, new legislation for reusable and recyclable packing means member states would have to cut waste by 15 per cent per person by 2040 compared to 2018.

Applying all of the measures included in the proposal would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from packaging by 23 million tons by the end of the decade, according to the EU.