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Waste Management Practices Of Mcdonalds Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1634 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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McDonalds is one of the largest and most well known global fast food restaurants. Ray Kroc is the founder of the company in the year 1955. The company has been operating for 55 years and has 32000 restaurants chain in more than 117 countries. More than 75% of McDonald’s worldwide outlets are operated by franchisees or affiliates (Our Company 2010). There are 1.5 million employees worldwide working to serve 50 million worldwide customers each day (McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd, 2006). Over the many years, millions of people have patronage McDonald’s because it is a trusted name with proven service. In returning that loyalty, McDonalds have an obligation to give back to the community (SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, 2010). McDonalds supports Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), animal welfare, food safety and environment (SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, 2010).

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This essay shall examine how McDonalds has performed in the relation to the environment particularly waste management practices. The public of the current age are concerned about the amount of packaging and food waste produced by McDonald’s restaurants (Better Packaging with McDonald’s, 2009). A survey conducted by Keep Britain Tidy that about 29% of the litter waste on the Britain Street was come from the McDonalds restaurant (Gray, L 2009). Therefore, one of the best solutions taken by McDonalds is manage the waste through waste management practices, which is involving in reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal (Better Packaging with McDonald’s, 2009). As one of the largest fast food restaurants worldwide, McDonalds has become an environment leader. Hence, McDonalds is determined to analyze every aspect of their business on their impact on the environment and according to the analysis and seek effective ways to enhance the environment. McDonalds is hoping to survive and stay in a clean environment where the air, water and the earth are clean and as well build an environment sound world to the future generation ().

McDonalds has done a variety of different as compared to the past and current performance. In the past, McDonalds used the polystyrene foam as packaging food. Many environmentalists dislike polystyrene foam because the production of foam will release out the chlorofluorocarbon, which can damage the atmosphere. The foam also to take long time to break down, if at all, in landfills, which is where most of it winds up because there are relatively few recycling centers ( ). Besides, McDonalds was required 46 grams of packaging in “average meal”- a Big Mac, fries and a shake in year 1970 (Case A: McDonald’s Environmental Strategy, 1995). In addition, there was no industrial scale recycling before (Rose, 2009). Furthermore, McDonalds did not practice the exercise of converting the waste into energy.

Nowadays, McDonalds has found many alternative ways to enhance the environment performance in term of the waste management practices. Firstly, McDonalds has replaced the polystyrene foam by the using paper based-wraps in order to reduce the waste volume in the waste management process (Better Packaging with McDonald’s, 2009). The replacement is because of consumers demand and heeding counsel of environmental groups (Liddle, A 1990). McDonalds major markets, about 83% of the packaging used for food, beverages and other consumer purposes is made of some form of paper (McDonald’s Worldwide Corporate Responsibility Report, 2006). Another is the reduced amount of material used in each item of packaging (our environment, 2008). Thirdly, McDonalds recycles packaging waste and recycles used cooking oil in waste management practices (Recycling in the restaurant – Focusing on operational opportunities, 2010). Fourthly, proper disposal waste programs are been carried out to manage the food waste once the McDonalds cannot reduce, reuse and recycle the waste (our environment, 2008). Recent year, McDonald in UK has a trial tested out an alternative method of disposal, which by converting the food waste to energy (Managing the impacts of the leftovers, 2010). David Fairhurst, senior vice president for McDonald’s UK & Northern Europe said that the converting waste to energy is encouraging that has already reduced the environmental impact in the area by 48% and significant step on achieving zero waste to landfill (Thomas, D 2009)

Currently, McDonalds brings a lot impact upon the society and stakeholder. McDonalds replaces the foam to paper wraps, which make up 70% to 90% reduction in sandwich packaging volume (Better Packaging with McDonald’s, 2009). Besides, McDonalds also reduce the amount of material used in the packaging, which indicate less raw material use and thus less solid waste produce (our environment, 2008). For example, in 2005, McDonalds redesigned the inside of North American fry boxes, which make up more than 1,100 tons packaging waste saved per year (McDonald’s Worldwide Corporate Responsibility Report, 2006).

Furthermore, McDonalds in Unite State has recycled over 17 tons of corrugate cardboard per year (Recycling in the restaurant – Focusing on operational opportunities 2010). Corrugate cardboard represent around 30% of the total restaurant waste and as result of recycling, divert the amount of waste from landfills. McDonalds has an aim of achieving to recycle 100% of their corrugated cardboard (our environment, 2008). By the way, about 10% of the total restaurant wastes come from the used cooking oil and McDonalds has converted into biodiesel (our environment, 2008). McDonalds in United State has recycled approximately 13,000 pounds of used cooking oil per year. Currently, more than 80% of the used oil in Europe has transformed into biodiesel (Recycling in the restaurant – Focusing on operational opportunities 2010). As a result, it is stopped the used cooking oil from send to landfills. (Please consolidate and present it in a more systematic way.)

In addition, the trial of converting the waste to energy has been successfully reduction 54% percent of carbon emission as audited by the Carbon Trust (Brass, E 2009). The amount of waste save from landfill could be 65 tones if the restaurants continue implement this disposal. For the energy generate from the waste provide enough heat and electricity to the building (Managing the impacts of the leftovers, 2010). For instance, in UK the energy generate from the food waste, which able to power the 22 million light bulbs to community (Brass, E 2009).

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Now let focus on the advantages and disadvantages of McDonald practices in the waste management. The major advantage through the waste management practices is reduced the greenhouse gas emission. Methane especially one of the greenhouse gases which mostly generate by the landfills operation and bring harmful effects to the environment and human health. Therefore, the key factor success of lower down the gases emission is driven by the greater recycle wastes, increased amount of waste recovery and incineration combined with energy production (Improved waste management delivering climate benefits, 2008). Another advantage of the waste management practices is generated a livable environment to society (Waste Disposal Methods Advantages and Disadvantages n.d.). It is because people can exist and live in a comfort environment with free of waste. . (are there any scholarly proof to support this statement?) is to help to reduce the amount of waste. Through the waste management practices, McDonalds has send less waste to landfill and ultimately less waste occupy the landfill

However, there are some disadvantages of the waste management practices. The major disadvantage is contaminated the environment (Waste Disposal Methods Advantages and Disadvantages n.d.). The utilities of papers as packaging especially are unfriendly to the environment in the waste management practice. It is because there will increase the environment impact in production of paper packaging item.

An analysis conducted by the Franklin Associates, an independent environmental research firm that the production between polystyrene foam and paper toward the environment impact. The result show that the manufacturing of paper containers especially make up 46 percent more air pollution, 42 percent more water pollution and 75 percent more industrial waste than that of plastic. Made predominantly of air, paper requires 30 percent more energy to produce than foam (Eckhardt, A 1998). Therefore, the using of paper actually leads the pollution occur. Consequently, global warming especially occurs once the pollution getting severe and serious. Besides, the disadvantage of the waste management practices is influence the people health. The process of convert the waste to energy need go through the incineration, which may emit the harmful gases into the environment that hazardous to residents’ health, as the emission smoke is invisible and smelly. Undoubtedly, it brings the negative impact to society (Krishna, G 2006).

As conclusion, the waste management practices should be adopted to manage the waste in order to provide the healthy and clean environment to the society. The social performance of McDonalds in relation to the environment has tremendously contributed. Even though the elimination of waste from the fast food restaurants is impossible, some effective and efficiency of alternative methods should also seek in order to reduce and prevent the waste from being engulfed the earth. If the large fast food company like McDonalds does not control the waste produce from the restaurant and save the planet, people will surely perish themselves one day.


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