Fast food “returns plastic to menus” under EU rules

Reusable cups that “disappeared” in restaurant chains despite paying two euros. If customers returned them they would get their money back, but people have a hard time getting into these habits, giving them up, or taking them home. Coming from the complaint chain fast food McDonald’s. The US company, along with many other companies, has been fighting for months against the European Union’s packaging plan, which aims to reuse instead of recycling. If passed, Brussels’ new strategy would overturn the packaging system and the system of plates, cups, glasses and cutlery used by most “hit-and-run” restaurant chains that now rely heavily on disposable and recycled materials.

Discredit the EU plan

Months ago, the European Commission proposed a plan that would require all restaurants to use reusable materials when serving meals to customers, including takeaways. Experts, who are aware of the difficulties of creating new habits in consumers, warn operators that the first experiences with reuse are not promising. chains fast food They are running a lobbying effort to discredit the plan and force the European executive to abandon it. To demonstrate this, they commission a series of studies, articles and advertisements aimed at changing the minds of European officials, as well as governments and members of the European Parliament. McDonald’s says it has been committed to reducing the use of environmentally harmful plastic in its restaurants for years and has focused its efforts on recyclable packaging. The EU plan will require them to reverse their trends. “We have virtually eliminated plastic in our restaurants,” Jon Banner, McDonald’s chief global impact officer, said in a sponsored article in Politico. “Now, as a result of reuse, we will have to reintroduce plastic into our restaurants to ensure it is reused, reused, and reused.”

glasses gone

McDonald’s Corporation has announced that it is experimenting with offering reusable cups in several European countries. The results were not comforting. The globally distributed US chain noted that many cups had disappeared. For example, in Germany, customers who choose reusable materials pay a deposit of 2 Euros. However, only 40% of cups and glasses return to restaurants. Data from experiments in the Netherlands is even worse: only 25% of glasses are returned despite customers paying a 1 euro deposit. THE fast food In recent years they have invested in certain materials; McDonald’s claims that, at least in Europe, 94% of the company’s packaging is fibre-based. While these consist mostly of wood fibres, plastic is still used in containers for hot and cold cups. The company is also developing a plastic-free cup, Banner said.

Disposable VS reusable

According to research funded by McDonald’s, reusable cups need to be reused 50 to 100 times before they are considered environmentally preferable to disposable cups. According to Banner, experiments reveal a very different situation in real life. What worries large restaurant chains is, first of all, the restructuring costs they will have to face with such a major change. For example, more facilities and employees will be needed to wash dishes, and water and electricity consumption will increase. These data, like others, are fiercely contested by environmental organisations, largely united under the umbrella of the Rethink Plastic alliance, which have asked the European Union to insist on the original plan. “On average, 1.3 liters of water are needed to brew a disposable cup of coffee, while only 150 ml of water is needed to clean a reusable cup,” said Tatiana Luján, materials systems manager at ClientEarth, an organization specializing in the environment. law.

the art of washing

Activists and organizational leaders gathered in front of the European Parliament on September 27 to argue that the adoption of reusable containers within a well-designed reuse system has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for most packaging options. “Unlocking the potential of smart reuse requires creating systems that leverage our collective design expertise, optimizing processes from design to return to warehouse, embracing reverse logistics, and perfecting the art of washing,” Morawski of the Reloop association said in a statement. At the end of August, a study was published showing the advantages of reusable materials, even in a complex industry like takeaways. In the final version approved by the European Parliament, targets for bundle packages were eliminated. Instead, the proposal continues to include specific obligations regarding food consumed in quick-service restaurants. The vote by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee is expected to take place on 24 October and will generally be binding for the next vote at the plenary in Strasbourg. Once approved by the majority of MPs, the text will represent the official negotiating position of the parliament, which will be discussed with the Commission and member states that have not yet adopted a joint decision.

Source: Today IT