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Waste Not
McDonald’s Tapping Employees For Sustainability Innovations

McDonald’s Pacific Sierra Region has created a waste diversion execution manual that is resulting in an estimated diversion of 70 cubic yards of waste from landfills each week, according to the company’s 2014 Global “Best of Green” report.

The manual enables restaurants to deploy mixed recycling, organics recycling, or both, by providing checklists, shift huddles, and crew/customer engagement and education materials. The manual was initially piloted in 11 California Bay Area restaurants in Alameda County and is being replicated in additional restaurants throughout the Pacific Sierra Region.

The “Best of Green” report is a collection of best practices that illustrates progress in five categories — energy, recycling and waste, sustainable sourcing, engagement and greening the restaurants/workplace.

To further reduce waste, McDonald’s UK has launched a program for recycling restaurant employee uniforms. Uniforms will be collected annually by textile recyclers to be ‘recycled or ‘down-cycled,’ shredded and used as mattress stuffing.

In India, where water usage remains an area of concern, a water reduction strategy is saving an estimated 1.7 million gallons of water annually by installing low-flow urinals in 70 McDonald’s India restaurants.

McDonald's USA, McDonald's Canada and their franchisees are investing more than $6 million in a farmer technical assistance program, the report says. The initiative includes collaboration with TechnoServe and SCAN (Sustainable Commodities Assistance Network) to provide farmers with assistance and training to produce coffee in a more sustainable manner.

McDonald’s says many of its best ideas comes from company and franchisee employees worldwide, as they see firsthand ways to improve practices that ultimately benefit the environment and the communities the company serves.

In May, McDonald’s announced it will be allowing its restaurants in different international markets to follow region-specific guidelines for achieving its recent pledge to purchase sustainable beef.

In January, the fast food company — one of the largest buyers of beef in the US — pledged to begin purchasing verified sustainable beef in 2016, with the goal of eventually buying all of its beef from sustainable sources. The company says achieving this goal will depend on sustainability innovation that is unique to local restaurant markets.

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