McDonald’s is piloting a reusable coffee cup scheme in partnership with TerraCycle’s reusable packaging service, Loop, to reduce single-use waste to landfills. In a global first for the fast-food giant, six McDonald’s locations in England will introduce returnable cups that are cleaned and reused.
McDonald’s pilot partnership with Loop is part of the company’s “journey to rethink how it packages products,” and aligns with the company’s goal to “give customers options that reduce waste, maintain the highest safety standards and enhance the McDonald’s experience.”
Built for convenience
The reusable cup scheme was built to provide customers with “the ultimate convenience.” Once the customer is done with the drink, they can be returned either to one of the piloting restaurants or to a specific Loop-branded collection bin.
For a £1 (US$1.37) deposit, customers can opt to have their hot drink in a returnable Loop cup. As an incentive, participating customers receive a 20p ($US0.27) discount on their purchase.
In store, customers can receive their £1 deposit back in the form of cash, a voucher or simply get a new reusable cup for their next hot drink. At kiosks, customers can receive a voucher or their money back via the Loop app, depending on the bin it’s returned to.
Cups are sent to Loop’s local bespoke cleaning facility, which was built in collaboration with Ecolab and DHL. Here cups pass through three hygienic stations and are tested for cleanliness before being repacked to be reused.
Quick service embraces reusability
Building on the circular message, the outer layer of the reusable cups are made from recycled coffee cups. The design not only saves material but gives the cups a unique look and feel, says McDonald’s.
The test locations are set to generate important insights and lessons to steer future scaling up of the program.
Global reuse platform Loop is also working with Burger King to trial reusable packaging for its beverage cups and sandwich containers.
Burger King’s trial launched this year in the US cities of New York City and Portland, and in Tokyo, Japan.
In other moves to reduce single-use packaging, KFC China rolled out reusable serving baskets in 2019, saving more than 2,000 tons of paper packaging and reducing restaurant waste in 2019 by approximately 20 percent.