That crown Burger King’s head might seem a little greener these days. It’s not a patina spreading across the fast-food mascot’s royal headwear, but a change in philosophy at the burger giant’s headquarters.
The chain restaurant this morning announced plans to launch a green packaging pilot program, focussing on the eight items its customers use the most—forks, spoons, knives, straws, drink lids, Frypods (aka fries containers), Whopper wrappers, and napkins.
The test runs will be conducted at 51 company-owned restaurants in Miami, where the company is based.
Eco-friendly alternatives include cutlery made with a plant-based plastic called cPLA, napkins made with 100% recycled fiber, and Frypods made with renewable unbleached virgin paperboard. The two new Whopper wraps the company is trying use 13% and 34% less paper.
“We will also be testing paper and plant-based straws along with strawless lids, which could potentially eliminate up to 500 million single-use plastic straws annually from participating U.S. Burger King restaurants. This action alone would translate to the removal of 910 metric tons of greenhouse gasses per year, the equivalent of 196 vehicles driven for one year,” Burger King says in a written statement.
The company adds that it will be working with Coca-Cola and Kraft Heinz on this pilot program.
Fast food is a huge producer of packaging waste. The grab-and-go approach means every packaging component of your meal is destined for a trash can—and ultimately a landfill or ocean. As people become increasingly concerned about the environment and their role in protecting it, large restaurant companies have tried to become more eco-conscious.
For example, in 2018, McDonald’s said it wants 100% of its guest packaging made from renewable, recycled, or certified sources and 100% of its guest packaging recycled by 2025. The following year, KFC pledged that by 2025, all its plastic-based, consumer-facing packaging would be recoverable or reusable. Other big chains from Taco Bell and Starbucks to Wendy’s and Shake Shack have made similar promises.
Burger King is owned by Canada’s Restaurant Brands International, whose portfolio also includes Popeyes and Tim Hortons.
RBI is $69.36 per share, down $1.05 or 1.49%, in early-morning trading.