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Two of the world’s most iconic food and beverage brands have launched ambitious initiatives aimed at significantly reducing waste and increasing the recycled and biobased content of their packaging. Together, they mark the acceleration of a yearslong war on waste.
- McDonald’s Corp. last week announced plans to make 100 percent of its consumer packaging from “renewable, recyclable and certified materials” by 2025. It also pledged to offer consumer package recycling in all of its restaurants worldwide by that date.
- A few days later, the Coca-Cola Company announced “World Without Waste,” a global goal to help collect and recycle “the equivalent” of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030, as well as to make bottles with an average of 50 percent recycled content by then.
The twin announcements signal a new era among large consumer brands to take responsibility for their packaging. It’s coming in an age of increased global concern over the prevalence of plastic and other waste materials in waterways and oceans, not to mention streets and landscapes around the world. It also comes at a time when brands such as Coke and McDonald’s recognize that their global growth ambitions could be stymied by consumer, activist and governmental pushback against mounting waste streams.