When it comes to finding ways to reduce waste and carbon footprint, McDonald's has been one of the leaders in the fast food industry. They've been working to source all of their packaging from recyclable and renewable sources, and are 78 percent of the way there so far.
In Brazil, McDonald's is testing a renewable plastic for one part of their food system we normally wouldn't think of: the trays your food gets served on.
The test is happening thanks to a collaboration between major McDonald's franchisee Arcos Dorados and UBQ, a company that takes trash and other common waste and converts it into plastic materials.
UBQ was able to use their thermoplastic product to create McDonald's trays, and Arcos Dorados sent them to several locations across Brazil. The initial test produced 7,000 trays that went to 30 locations, and Arcos Dorados will be expanding this to McDonald's locations nationwide.
The initial test has already diverted over 2,000 pounds of waste, and the Brazil-wide expansion would translate to over 8,000 pounds of carbon dioxide taken out of circulation.
Whether McDonald's will look at their franchisee's success and make more trays globally remains to be seen. However, this marks a key step on the chain's attempts to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.