Retail Self-Regulation & Commitments

Canadian McDonalds Pilot Plastic-Free Packaging

Same fries, same shakes, new packaging.

One London McDonald’s location is leaving plastic packaging behind, doling out wooden cutlery, paper straws and paper cup lids to patrons as part of a closely tracked pilot project by McDonald’s Canada’s corporate office.

The McDonald’s restaurant at 1033 Wonderland Rd. South is one of only two locations in the country testing plastic-free packaging.

“These restaurants are at the forefront of helping McDonald’s and our franchisees achieve our packaging reduction goals,” McDonald’s communications manager Leanna Rizzi said in an email.

The other location in Canada testing the more eco-conscious utensils and packaging is in Vancouver.

The fast-food giant is tracking customer response at both locations.

“We are encouraged by the general consumer reactions to date,” Rizzi said.

“We are gathering information on what guests like about the new packaging to learn about customer expectations and preferences.”

The McFlurry spoons and lids are still plastic at the Wonderland Road location, but the forks, knives, other spoons and coffee stir sticks at the store are made of wood. Cup lids are made of recyclable wood fibre with straws made of paper.

“When I go to other places and get a plastic drink lid, I say to myself, ‘Why are we still doing this?’” said Melissa McNicol, who dropped by the Wonderland Road South restaurant.

“It’s a great idea,” Mo Almusawi said while eating lunch with his children at the restaurant. “I think it’s a good move for the environment.”

The lessons McDonalds Canada learns from its two Green Concept stores will help shape chain-wide policy, the company says.

McDonald’s Canada’s move comes amid increasing public scrutiny over the toll disposable, single-use plastics take on the environment.

Fast-food giant A&W and Recipe Unlimited Corporation – the parent company of Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet, New York Fries and several other chain restaurants – phased out plastic straws at Canadian locations this year.

Starbucks is swapping plastic straws for strawless drink lids at its stores by 2020.

McDonald’s Canada says its eventual goal is to source 100 per cent of its food packaging from renewable or recycled materials.

The plastic-free packaging isn’t the only item McDonald’s is testing in the region. The company is trying its new plant-based burger at 17 locations in London and 11 others across Southwestern Ontario.



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London McDonald’s one of two Canadian stores piloting plastic-free packaging




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