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Brief Published: 17 Sep 2020

McDonald’s & Loop Launch Reusable Cup Scheme

McDonald's x Loop

McDonald’s has collaborated with global circular packaging grocery shopping platform Loop to become one of the first major fast-food brands to introduce a reusable cup scheme for hot drinks.

Set to be trialled UK-wide in 2021, the scheme will allow customers to choose a sturdy, Loop-designed reusable cup instead of the disposable counterpart for a small deposit, which will be redeemable upon returning the cup to any participating outlet. The cups are then collected by Loop to be safely washed and disinfected, ready to be used again.

The initiative is the latest in a string of new waste-reducing strategies launched by the fast-food giant, following a similar circular cup scheme trialled in Berlin in 2019, and a redesign of its McFlurry ice-cream packaging to remove the need for a plastic lid and spoon (reducing its annual plastic waste by 500 tonnes in 2019). McDonald’s has also committed to replacing all of its packaging with recycled and recyclable materials by 2025. 

Plastic waste has skyrocketed during the pandemic, with many retailers and hospitality outlets temporarily banning reusable bags, cups and food containers amid (since disputed) Covid-19 contamination fears. If McDonald’s scheme proves a success, it could signal a shift back towards the wider use of reusables, as covered in Packaging Futures 2020/21: Mainstreaming Eco Packaging.

For a closer look at how the pandemic has shifted consumer attitudes to food and drink packaging, read New Rules for Post-Covid Packaging and Post-Covid Packaging for Amplified Categories & Causes.