Reusable Cups


McDonald’s Corporation has announced a global partnership with TerraCycle’s circular packaging service, Loop, to test a new reusable cup model for hot beverages.

The initiative will be trialed in 2021 across select McDonald’s restaurants in the UK. The company’s objective is to cut down on packaging waste which helps the environment but also cuts their internal costs.

McDonalds claims this model marks significant progress toward innovative ‘circular packaging solutions’ that help protect the planet. Some have the opinion that this milestone could have been achieved much earlier. Let’s hope this initiative will succeed and quickly be adopted among all their stores.

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.  

Loopcup 1

Our commitment to communities is one of our core values as a company, and this pilot will generate important local insights and lessons to share along the way. We’re excited to assess how new reusable packaging models could work within our system as we accelerate circular packaging solutions with our partners around the globe.

Jenny McColloch, Vice President, Global Sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation

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.  

TerraCycle claims on their website that they have now recycled 7,762,174,415 items and raised $44,806,327 for charity.

The Loop initiative is part of McDonald’s continued investment 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 fibre cups and reusable cup systems through a partnership with the NextGen Cup Challenge in the United States.  

This work also builds on the work McDonald’s has done 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 centres where the plastic lining is removed from the fibre, 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 incentivises more waste companies to collect paper cups for recycling. 

McDonald’s Global having 37,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries serving 69 million people each day is working towards their global ambition to source all guest packaging from renewable, recycled or certified sources by 2025.

Today, McDonald’s is approximately 78% of the way towards achieving this goal globally.

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