Plastic is off the menu, says McDonald’s Australia

By Allen Jack

Fast-food giant McDonald’s Australia (MA) has announced that it will be eliminating plastic cutlery from all of its restaurants across the country by 2021.

Switching instead to a fibre-based replacement material for its eating implements (such as those developed by AR Packaging), the company states that it will be able to save 585 tonnes of plastic per year. 

The press release also mentions MA’s decision to phase-out plastic straws in favour of paper, which will also mitigate 500mn items annually. 

“By removing plastic straws and cutlery from McDonald’s restaurants, we are continuing to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Kylie Freeland, Director of Supply Chain and Sustainability.

“We’re committed to being an industry leader in sustainable practices, ultimately using our scale for good to positively impact challenges facing the communities we operate in.” With these latest changes, MA’s packaging is now 85% fibre-based.

Targeting Australia’s waste

MA’s announcement came shortly before the premiere of the National Plastic Summit - a congregation of industry leaders, including Nestle and MA, to determine the best course for tackling Australia’s wastage problems, particularly regarding plastic. 


Consumers in Australia are estimated to use 10mn plastic bags a day, whilst the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, wants to stop the country from exporting 4.5mn tonnes of waste annually to countries in Asia. 

 "The state of our recycling and remanufacturing facilities, as well as the economics behind our collections systems, are under severe strain, we need to invest in this industry," Morrison said.

"Investing in the sector is not just good for the environment, it is incredibly good for our economy as well.”

Innovating against coronavirus

Meanwhile, in Singapore, McDonald’s has launched a new contactless delivery service to reduce contamination risks of Covid-19 (aka coronavirus). 

Instead of the delivery person interacting directly with customers, they will instead leave pre-paid food orders at a specified location and then wait (from a distance) for the food to be picked up. This service is available in the ‘remarks’ portion of the order form. 

In addition, the health of delivery people will be regularly checked, protective masks and hands must be washed after each delivery and delivery bags will be cleaned in two-hour increments. 

For more information on business topics in ANZ, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief ANZ.

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