As much as I love to hate McDonald’s restaurants I have to admit it’s not going away any time soon! Every day McDonald’s serves 2.5 million people in 1400 locations across Canada! Since we live in a fast-paced world it’s sometimes hard to find time to prepare a meal. So, we reward instant gratification with repeat business. It is what it is!
One fast food invention boosted sales and made instant gratification a reality. So, unless something changes the drive-thru will forever contribute to single-use trash. I love the drive-thru and use it multiple times a day. Who doesn’t love crispy french fries, custom made coffee beverages and swirl cones? Invented over seventy years ago we gravitated to eating in the comfort of our own car!
A relationship between the drive-thru has grown with the production of plastic. After seven decades. scientists have crunched the numbers. They’ve learned the world has so far produced a total of 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic. We’re in an environmental limbo. The world suffers from too much garbage and our appetite for convenience!
We’ve built up massive institutions that rely on single-use containers and packaging. So, it’s not surprising that these food giants are slow to change. They’re wasting material by throwing it in the garbage. Switching packaging from recyclable containers to non-recyclable. It’s a huge problem that one company has begun to solve.
I decided to write after discovering Mcdonald’s restaurants are using post-consumer packaging. In a perfect world, a circular economy would manage our resource consumption. Yet, I realize now that recycling is falling apart across Canada!
BOOST RECYCLING OR BUST?
There is so much trash that selling recyclables is becoming unfeasible. The mixed paper has decreased in the price of 110% and plastic bags are down 53% since 2017. China has banned foreign recyclables. So now we can only sell the highest quality recycling material to foreign governments.
Sorting recyclables and resorting again is costly. The costs of labor and the commodity crash have cost Canadian Taxpayers money. So much, in fact, the Ontario government must either raise taxes or cut social programs. For this reason, we can’t rely on foreign countries to take our recyclable materials.
There are plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t rely on other countries. There is a lack of International Government transparency and often poor labor standards. So, the actions of foreign governments have created a volatile market place. This is volatility is causing mass confusion in who is warehousing these materials.
Recycling is big business! There are opportunities for those entrepreneurial spirits. In the USA, estimates show recycling accounts for almost 100 billion dollars in economic activity. So far we can’t rely on the Canadian government to control the supply of garbage. But it is so important to create a circle of sustainability. It’s time for some cunning entrepreneur to take over.
As John E Rockefeller bought his first oil refinery. It was the start of a pioneering monopoly which controlled the oil industry. The oil was plentiful, prices were cheap and so he sought out refineries. He bought them all to control the price of the commodity. This oil revolution spawned the oil empire we know today.
Each country has the responsibility to manage its own trash regardless of the cost!
The restaurant industry gives us food on a plate used by thousands of different people. We walk in, sit down, eat and leave. The plate is rinsed, washed, dried and repeat! However, the fast food joints don’t operate the same way. When we sit down to eat a meal they provide us with the same single-use packaging as the drive-thru. That’s got to change!
Furthermore, children drive profits so I understand why fast food chains are enticing kids. However, the plastic toys have got to go. The toys are not only plastic, but they package the toys in little plastic bags too! It’s always one new toy fad to the next. These toys are good for the first ten minutes, then they lose interest. Eventually, as the kids get older the toy becomes landfill waste. Corporations like McDonald’s should stop selling these types of toys or switch to a friendlier alternative.
There are countless petitions that are being signed every day to ban plastic straws. So Mcdonald’s introduced paper straws across 1361 locations. It’s great to see the company try. But, there’s been a backlash from customers since these straws dissolve and collapse. Paper is not the only alternative but most likely the cheapest one!
McDonald’s are the largest Restaurant chain in the world! By 2025 their goal is to switch 100% of their packaging from virgin material to recycled, renewable certified materials. They’ve pledged to recycle packaging, creating a recycling infrastructure in the restaurant.
In 2018 they joined an alliance between Closed Loop Partners and Starbucks. The goal is to create a 100% recyclable or compostable disposable cup. They held the Next Generation Cup Challenge, which promised twelve cup solutions.
Canadians and food companies hold a dirty little secret. We generate more trash per capita than any other country in the developed world. By 2025 the World Bank estimates the world will produce 6 million tons of waste a day.
The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the Oceans than fish! Fast food giants such as McDonald’s are starting to use packaging that will biodegrade. The restaurant is starting to change their ways. They’re beginning to lead by example, but there is still room for improvement!