Why doesn’t McDonald’s recycle? | What’s up with that?
The Oak Brook–based burger giant is testing a waste-diversion program.
During a recent stop at McDonald’s, I noticed how much paper packaging was used, and I started wondering why the Oak Brook–based company doesn’t have recycling. If billions and billions are being served, billions and billions recycled could make a huge impact.—Gabby, Logan Square
The Golden Arches haven’t gone green—yet. In several markets across the country, including a New City outpost (4158 S Ashland Ave, 773-847-2763), Mickey D’s is testing a “waste-diversion program,” says the chain’s sustainability manager, Erik Gonring. The fry guy made a point to redirect our attention behind the scenes. “The majority of our recycling occurs behind the counter, where most on-site waste is generated,” Gonring says. In the average store, he boasts, a McDonald’s franchisee who chooses to embrace the three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—in the kitchen can annually keep 72,000 pounds of packing material from ending up in a landfill and can collect 13,000 pounds of used cooking oil, which is donated to an organization that reprocesses it into biodiesel fuel. That’s…nice—so when’s that recycling bin gonna hit my local McDonald’s? Gonring says it’s “too premature to speculate at this time.” Unfortunate, but still: A super-size portion (82 percent) of the fast-food chain’s consumer packaging is made from recyclable materials.