Today, McDonald’s Corporation announced a global partnership with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to test a new reusable cup model for hot beverages. The initiative, which will first be trialed in 2021 across select McDonald’s restaurants in the UK, helps the fast food giant cut down on packaging waste. According to McDonald’s, the model marks significant progress toward innovative circular packaging solutions.
This new partnership will allow customers to reduce waste by choosing a durable Loop-created cup for a small deposit. The deposit can then be redeemed by returning the cup to participating McDonald’s UK restaurants in order to be safely washed through the Loop system and reused again in McDonald’s restaurants.
Additionally, the Loop partnership meets McDonald’s cleanliness and safety standards, which have only become more important throughout the covid-19 pandemic. Loop’s cleaning systems have been scientifically developed, in partnership with Ecolab, to sanitize each item, which means each cup is hygienically cleaned before each use, making it as safe and hygienic as single-use cups.
The Loop initiative aligns with McDonald’s continued investments to test and scale circular solutions for cups around the world including the “Recup” system in Germany, and exploration into fully recoverable hot and cold fiber cups and reusable cup systems through a partnership with the NextGen Cup Challenge in the United States.
This work also builds on progress McDonald’s has already made to recycle paper cups in multiple markets. Almost all of McDonald’s restaurants across the UK now have recycling units for hot and cold paper cups. The paper cups are sent to specialist recycling centers where the plastic lining is removed from the fiber, which is then recycled into new products. As a member of the UK Paper Cup Coalition, McDonald’s has invested in a scheme run by Valpak that incentivizes more waste companies to collect paper cups for recycling.