EU regulation on takeaway packaging : Environmentalists accuse McDonald's of lobbying against reusable tableware

McDonald's UK plastics waste recycling mcflurry salads

Mc Donalds plastic waste: Environmentalists accuse McDonald's of lobbying against reusable tableware

- © McDonald's UK

German environmentalists have voiced clear criticism of a McDonald's campaign with which the fast food chain opposes new rules for reusable packaging in the EU. McDonald's is trying to prevent the EU Commission's planned increase in the reusable quota with an "untrustworthy" and "tendentious" study, said Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) in Berlin on Thursday.

The study, commissioned by McDonald's from the consulting firm Kearney, is said to show that a mandatory reusable rate for fast food restaurants would lead to more waste, higher greenhouse gas emissions and additional water consumption. Disposable packaging, on the other hand, could even be more sustainable, especially if it is made of paper.

DUH considers the study's assumptions "unrealistic". "The water consumption assumed for the rinsing of reusable packaging is much too high in the McDonald's study," explained Thomas Fischer of DUH. In addition, the makers of the Kearney study assumed too low return rates and low circulation figures for reusable tableware. "These data do not match those of relevant studies and life cycle assessments," DUH complained.

Moreover, the study had not been reviewed by independent researchers. A study commissioned by the EU Commission proves that takeaway reusable packaging is more climate-friendly than its disposable counterparts.In an interview with the magazine "Spiegel", Kearney defended the report as "completely independent". Depending on what studies are based on, it is "not surprising" that other authors would use different figures for water consumption. McDonald's assured that it takes its "responsibility in this area very seriously". The EU Commission had proposed a new packaging regulation. This must now be agreed with the member states and the parliament. The regulation could come into force in 2024.