Industry headlines have been abuzz recently with news of a new recycling initiative being trialled by fast food giant McDonald’s.
150 of the chain’s UK restaurants are reportedly set to collect their previously non-recyclable, plastic-coated paper cups, so that they can be reprocessed at James Cropper’s reclaimed fibre plant.
Whilst the success of the scheme is yet to be determined, this could be a pioneering step for McDonald’s. Paper cups are notoriously difficult to recycle, particularly if these polyethylene-coated products end up in the MSW stream. But because they make up 30% of McDonald’s packaging waste, recycling progress could significantly improve the company’s sustainability status.
Currently processing the equivalent of 10 million paper cups per week, James Cropper seems the perfect partner for the challenge. Ninety per cent of each cup will seemingly be reclaimed as recovered fibre for the paper industry, whilst the remaining plastic waste will be utilised in the production of products such as garden furniture.
Commenting on the idea, Riverside’s managing director Jonathan Oldfield said: “We recently blogged about the extent to which 2016 could the year of the waste entrepreneur. If one or two organisations can make some really innovatory progress, I truly believe more will follow suit. It’s about assessing what it possible and showcasing the successes.
“If this trial collaboration between McDonald’s and James Cropper works, for example, it will hopefully inspire other restaurants and cafes to revaluate their packaging wastes, however complex the materials have been to recycle, to date. We wish them the best of luck.”