McDonald’s Europe reaches sustainability milestone to source 100% wood fibre from recycled or certified virgin sources by 2016

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

McDonald’s Europe to source 100% wood fibre by 2016

Related tags Recycling Mcdonald

McDonald’s has announced all centrally-sourced packaging distributed across its 38 European markets is now chain-of-custody certified.

This means all its wood fibre (the material derived from wood to produce paper and board products) comes from recycled sources or forests certified to either Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard or a Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) national standard. 

Beef, coffee, fish & palm oil

Rolf Huwyler, senior manager, environment and CSR, McDonald's, told BakeryandSnacks, the milestone covers packaging such as cartons, cups, cup holders, bags, wraps, napkins, tray liners, and the paper around its straws. 

Today about 90% of our European packaging comes from renewable sources, we are currently focusing on the remaining 10%, to see how we can replace these with renewable materials,​” he said.

We hope by working with some of the most important suppliers in the industry we will drive progress across the wider sector​.” 

McDonald’s has a global vision to source all its food and packaging sustainably and wood fibre has been identified as a priority raw material by WWF alongside beef, coffee, fish and palm oil.


Centrally sourced packaging refers to packaging sourced at a European level, rather than local markets. Some locally sourced items, such as sugar sticks, salt and pepper sachets, ice cream cone wraps and donut cases, are not included.

Markets included are: Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Ukraine.

In over 7,900 restaurants across its 38 European markets, McDonald’s currently uses around 170,000 tonnes of wood fibre in its packaging annually.

Roadmaps to increase recycling

We are currently working hard on being able to recycle more packaging in our restaurants​,” added Huwyler. 

Most of our European markets have set roadmaps to further increase recycling in their restaurants. In the kitchen area, we already recycle waste including used frying oil, corrugated PE foil and organic waste.​ 

Depending on national recycling schemes, many restaurants are also separating customer waste for recycling or are currently testing this​.” 

The company has already achieved significant sourcing milestones globally and in Europe. Since 2008, McDonald’s European markets have sourced 100% of their coffee (excluding decaf) from farms certified by Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade for their sustainable practices. 

In addition, the fish used in its Filet-o-Fish sandwiches in Europe is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, with the MSC logo displayed on packaging. 

We have developed a clear strategy for packaging with sustainability being integral to our plans. Based on this strategy we have worked then very closely with all suppliers, providing support and sharing knowledge to develop best practice and reach our goals,​” said Huwyler. 

Before achieving our latest milestone with certified fibre we were focusing on reducing packaging material and increasing recycled content as much as possible. We managed to reach nearly 50% of our packaging coming from recycled fibre including all of our takeaway bags, napkins and cup carriers.​   

Going forward, we continue to further embed sustainability into the core of our business and engage both our internal and external stakeholders in meaningful dialogue on our sustainability priorities and performance​.”

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