Wednesday 29 June 2011

Update re McDonalds and the Recycling Issue

I recently blogged about the recycling bin I saw in McDonalds, and decided to email their CEO at their UK headquarters.

The original blog is here 

This is the reply I got, and I've been given permission to publish.  I will be forwarding all comments on to them, so would be interested in your opinions.

Dear Ms Robb

I am the Head of Environment, so Jill has asked me to look into this.

Thank you so much for contacting us – I was horrified to learn that this was the case, as this is absolutely not our intention.  I’m extremely grateful to you for bringing it to my attention.  We have got someone on site this morning investigating how this has happened, and he is also visiting all the other stores on this recycling trial to ensure that they are all handling plastics correctly.    We will get this rectified as soon as possible.  (Obviously there should be two separate bins inside so that one can capture bottles and the other, the remaining waste. I saw this in place at the start of the trial so we need to find out why this has changed.)

This particular trial is by coincidence due to come to an end in the next couple of weeks so we will be switching back the bins to ‘standard’ bins.  We are next going to trial separating out the food waste in the hope that the remaining materials can then be sorted at a ‘materials recycling facility’, which would increase the levels of materials recovered for recycling.  (Though you won’t see this in the Colney restaurant as we make sure we spread the trials out nationally.)

I do share your frustration regarding recycling.  It’s something I spend the majority of my time focusing on, and at the moment we find it quite challenging as the waste infrastructure varies so much from area to area, and also as so few waste contractors are able to handle ‘food contaminated’ waste like ours (hence our plan to trial separating out the food).  However, we have made some progress to date.  We recycle all of our used cooking oil  into biodiesel, which powers over half of our delivery fleet, and we also backhaul all of the cardboard outer boxes that go into our kitchens, for recycling.    We are also working with our European colleagues (who purchase packaging for the whole of Europe) on how we can make the rest of our packaging more recyclable.  At the same time we try to minimise the packaging we use, while complying with health and safety regulations.

Again, thank you so much for  bringing this to our attention and please rest assured that we will rectify this as soon as possible.  Do feel free to contact me should you have any more concerns or queries on this matter.

Best regards

Katie Saunders
Head of Environment