As a next step, the team is researching how cardboard is recycled at the restaurants. Is it possible for the distribution centers to support the restaurants with their cardboard recycling efforts through reverse logistics? Can we make the process easier? Is there value from the waste stream? Can it reduce costs at the restaurants by eliminating their current cardboard recycling programs?
Our future plans are to answer these questions and support the restaurants with their cardboard recycling programs. We will continue to backhaul stretch wrap and possibly consider other items to backhaul in the future.
Supporting Restaurant Waste Diversion
In 2017, we launched the DC Stretch Wrap Backhauling Program to collect stretch wrap at the restaurants. Stretch wrap is used by the distribution centers to secure pallets and carts for delivery. Prior to implementing this program, the restaurant threw the stretch wrap in the trash and sent it to a landfill. Restaurants are encouraged to participate in the program and drivers collect as much stretch wrap as they can at the time of delivery.
The distribution centers provide the restaurants clear plastic bags to store the used stretch wrap. Once full, the bags are set aside for pick up at the next delivery. They are then returned to the distribution center and processed to be sent for recycling. Based on 2018 collections, we are returning 811 tons of stretch wrap annually.
The North American Logistics Sustainability Team is researching ways to support restaurants with their waste diversion programs. According to McDonald’s, its customers’ number one environmental concern is to address the impact of restaurant packaging and waste. The NALC is committed to supporting the restaurants with waste diversion through reverse logistics.
Reverse logistics is the process of retrieving select waste from the restaurants and recycling it through approved distribution center (DC) channels. Diverting restaurant waste lowers contributions to landfills, overall greenhouse gas emissions and pollution as well as conserves energy and protects our air, water and land.